Affidavit lays out details of Stanton Heights slayings of 3 officers

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Richard Poplawski, the suspect in the killing of three Pittsburgh police officers yesterday, emerged from his Stanton Heights home after shooting two of the officers and fired additional shots into one of the victims, who was sprawled on the ground near the front stoop, a report says.

A police criminal complaint described the sequence of events that began with a domestic-violence call at 7:03 a.m. and led to the shooting deaths of Officers Paul Sciullo II, Stephen J. Mayhle and Eric Kelly at 1016 Fairfield St.

The suspect's mother, Margaret Poplawski, called 911 to say that she had argued with her son after she discovered that a dog had urinated on the floor of the house. She told police she wanted him removed.

Officers Sciullo and Mayhle radioed at 7:11 that they had arrived at the home. Mrs. Poplawski told police she opened the door and told police "come and take his ass."

When the officers were 10 feet into the residence, "she heard gunshots, turned and saw her son about six feet away with a long rifle in his hands, at which point she fled downstairs after asking him 'what the hell have you done?' " according to the report.

An unidentified witness in another house on Fairfield Street, awakened by gunfire, looked out the window and saw an officer down near the front stoop and a man standing in the doorway. The witness saw the suspect fire two or three more shots into the downed officer, later identified as Officer Mayhle, before going back inside.

Officer Timothy McManaway arrived at 7:17 and found Officer Kelly, who had responded as backup, wounded and down near his sport-utility vehicle on the street.

As he checked on Officer Kelly, more gunfire erupted from the house. Office McManaway was hit in the hand by gunfire or shrapnel as he returned fire. He later pulled Officer Kelly to cover behind the SUV. Paramedics arrived and took Officer Kelly to UPMC Presbyterian, where he died.

The report quoted Mrs. Poplawski as saying her son, after being kicked out of the Marine Corps for assaulting his drill sergeant during basic training, had been "stockpiling guns and ammunition, buying and selling the weapons online, because he believed that as a result of the economic collapse, the police were no longer able to protect society."

Mr. Poplawski was taken into custody after a siege of several hours. He faces three counts of homicide and numerous other charges.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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