Homewood man to stand trial in shooting of Pittsburgh officer

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A Homewood man was held for court this morning on charges that he shot and injured a Pittsburgh police officer.

Police said Dante A. Bonner, 19, was critically wounded in March when police shot him multiple times after he pulled out a 9 mm handgun and shot Officer Christopher Kertis in the left leg.

Police wrote in a criminal complaint that Officer Kertis and fellow Officer Charles Thomas responded to a call shortly before the shooting at the Shell gas station on Frankstown Avenue for a report that several people were causing a disturbance. They asked Mr. Bonner and the men with him to leave and they complied.

Moments later, however, police saw the passenger door of their vehicle open as it sped down Fifth Avenue and to the East Busway, where Mr. Bonner jumped out and ran, according to the complaint.

Police said Officer Kertis tripped over a parking barrier during the ensuing chase and Mr. Bonner fired at him. Officer Thomas then returned fire, they said.

Mr. Bonner faces charges of attempted homicide, assault of a police officer, carrying a firearm without a license and other offenses.

His attorney, Randall McKinney, said, "Mr. Bonner certainly made a poor decision that evening, but he was in no way attempting to kill the police officer ... Our contention is that the random shooting done by Mr. Bonner certainly was not a deliberate attempt to take the officer's life."

Mr. McKinney said he learned at the preliminary hearing today that police said one of the bullets Mr. Bonner fired struck Officer Kertis' bullet-resistant vest.

He said doctors told Mr. Bonner he was shot 17 times during the exchange of gunfire -- with some bullets striking his legs, arms, torso and back and some grazing his face.

"He is fortunate to be alive," Mr. McKinney said.

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