Memorial service set on Pitt campus

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The three city police officers killed in the line of duty Saturday will lie in repose Wednesday at the City-County Building and then will be honored at a public memorial service Thursday at the Petersen Events Center in Oakland.

City officials are expected to announce formal details of the services at a news conference this morning.

"Our goal has been making sure the families' wishes are respected," Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said as he left police headquarters yesterday afternoon.

There, he had spent several hours meeting with public safety officials and the families of the slain officers, Paul J. Sciullo II, Eric Kelly and Stephen J. Mayhle.

"The one theme that was common with all three families was how much their loved ones loved being city of Pittsburgh police officers," the mayor said.

He had difficulty putting his feelings about the slayings into words.

"For an individual to take the lives of three police officers over a senseless act has our city pretty angry," Mr. Ravenstahl said.

Public Safety Director Michael Huss also attended the meetings.

"It's hard," Mr. Huss said. "I'm incredibly sad."

The three were killed Saturday morning after they responded to a dispute between a mother and her son in Stanton Heights. Richard Poplawski, 22, is charged with three counts of homicide in their deaths.

The memorial service at 1 p.m. Thursday is expected to draw law enforcement officials from around the nation, the mayor said.

"It's a huge undertaking," said Dan O'Hara, president of the Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1 of the Fraternal Order of Police. "We're going to make sure they go off like heroes."

All three officers will lie in repose in the City-County Building beginning at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

In addition, private arrangements have been scheduled for the three slain officers.

Visitation for Officer Sciullo will be held from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today and tomorrow at Winter Funeral Home, 4730 Friendship Ave., Bloomfield. A Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in St. Joseph Church on Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield.

Visitation for Officer Kelly will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. tomorrow at White Memorial Chapel, 7204 Thomas Blvd., Point Breeze.

Visitation for Officer Mayhle will be Friday from noon to 9 p.m. at John A. Lefdahl Funeral Home in Indiana, Pa., where a funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday. Burial will be in Oakland Cemetery, Indiana, Pa., KDKA Television reported.

In addition to helping to coordinate the public memorials, the local and state FOPs are providing assistance to the city and the officers' families.

Representatives of the state lodge are helping the families file for benefits for an in-the-line-of-duty death. The mayor said the city also will help them obtain any available federal or state assistance.

"The officers will be the benefactors of anything we can get to them," Mr. Ravenstahl said. "We're going to do everything we can to make sure any benefit they are due will be realized by the families."


Paula Reed Ward can be reached at pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.


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