The fugitive accused of shooting an officer in Homewood early Thursday continued to fire even after he'd been shot, Pittsburgh police said on Friday as they released new details about the encounter.
James R. Hill, 24, who grew up in Homewood and had escaped from a Braddock halfway house, was described in serious but stable condition at UPMC Presbyterian, where he was being guarded. He was shot up to five times -- in the chest, the hip, the leg, the wrist and, possibly, one of his right fingers.
Zone 5 Officer Morgan Jenkins, an eight-year veteran of the force, remained in the intensive care unit, where doctors were watching his progress while he recovered from surgery to remove a bullet fragment lodged near his spine. Lt. Daniel Herrmann said a bullet struck Officer Jenkins in the back of his left biceps, traveled through his chest and cut through his lung before stopping close to his spine.
"Due to some swelling in that area, Officer Jenkins is still in the ICU," Lt. Herrmann said. "He is in good spirits and doing well."
Lt. Herrmann said both Officer Jenkins and his partner that night, Officer Michelle Auge, fired at Hill but he declined to go into detail about the specific shots each of them fired. Officer Auge broke two fingers and fractured a bone in her face when she tussled with Hill prior to the shooting. She was released from the hospital on Thursday.
Hill, was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Mary Cercone early Thursday morning on charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and other crimes, police said.
Lt. Herrmann said police are still trying to determine how Hill, a convicted felon, obtained the gun he used and the car he was driving when he ran a stop sign and prompted the chase that led to the shooting. He said neither the gun nor the car had been reported stolen at the time of the shootings.
Pittsburgh police wrote in a criminal complaint that Officers Jenkins and Auge were patrolling about 1:30 a.m. Thursday when they spotted a blue Chevrolet Malibu run a stop sign in Homewood, leading them on a half-mile chase before the driver crashed into a wall on Apple Street.
Police said Officers Jenkins and Auge struggled with Hill while they tried to remove him from the car. Officer Auge used her Taser on Hill but it didn't subdue him.
"The two officers felt the shock and the actor felt the shock at the same time, which is why it wasn't effective on the actor," Lt. Herrmann said. "When you're in close combat like that, if they're touching each other, they will receive the shock."
Officer Auge, who by then had already sustained her injuries, called for back-up while Officer Jenkins chased the suspect to a wooded hillside, where the shoot-out occurred.
Acting Chief Regina McDonald said the bureau plans to have a critical incident review board look at the shooting to see if any issues need to be addressed, as is normal procedure when an officer is shot or shoots at a suspect.
• City police approve testing effectiveness of ammunition, Page B-5
Liz Navratil: email@example.com or 412-263-1438.