An Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families caseworker was suspended without pay after she was arrested early Wednesday by Pittsburgh police, who said they found her driving a car with bullet holes shortly after a shooting.
Her passenger, police said, was a 23-year-old gang member wearing a bullet-resistant vest.
Medina El, 39, was being held in the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail after her arraignment on charges of carrying a gun without a license and a drug charge after police said they spotted signs of marijuana inside the car.
She made the news last summer when she said she was angry that police had used a Taser on one of her sons during an arrest -- an act the deputy police chief later said he felt was justified.
Ms. El's passenger in the car Wednesday morning, Timothy Bazemore, no address listed, was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail after police charged him with three gun violations, a drug charge and possessing unlawful body armor.
Sgt. Charles Henderson of Zone 5 wrote in a criminal complaint that he was patrolling in the 7100 block of Kelly Street about 1:30 a.m. when he heard gunfire erupt from "several different caliber guns easily distinguishable" and saw a muzzle flash and people moving around about a block ahead of him. He also wrote that he saw an SUV driving toward him with its headlights off.
When he stopped the car, he noticed multiple bullet holes, and when he reached for the arm of Bazemore, a convicted felon and member of the Race Street Crips gang, "my hand came in contact with his torso and I felt what I immediately recognized as a bullet resistant vest," according to the complaint.
Police wrote that they found a digital scale with possible marijuana residue inside the car and a gun in the center console. They also wrote that they found a small amount of marijuana in Bazemore's vest.
Reached Wednesday morning, a relative of Ms. El said the family did not yet have information about her arrest.
Liz Navratil: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil. First Published February 12, 2014 11:15 AM