Man jailed on charges he aimed threats at paralyzed Clairton officer
August 28, 2012 8:00 AM
By Sadie Gurman Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A Wilkinsburg man was jailed Monday after authorities said he threatened to kick paralyzed Clairton police Officer James Kuzak from his wheelchair during a confrontation near the Allegheny County Courthouse.
Irvin Glaze, 43, apparently recognized Officer Kuzak, who was wearing a Clairton police polo shirt, outside the Family Division of Common Pleas Court on Ross Street and started talking to him about 1 p.m.
"He said, 'Clairton's in the house,' " Officer Kuzak said, "and I said, 'How are you doing?' He said, 'Better off than you,' and I said I didn't think so. He didn't like that answer. He got upset and started to get highly irate."
Officer Kuzak was wounded while responding to an April 2011 home invasion in Clairton.
A jury this month acquitted two men of the shooting, although it convicted one of them, Emilio Rivera, 27, of McKees Rocks, of a string of crimes related to the home invasion. The second defendant, Marcus Andrejco, 19, was cleared of all charges against him.
Officer Kuzak was Downtown on Monday for a court matter unrelated to that case.
Alluding to the home invasion, Mr. Glaze told Officer Kuzak, "I know you did them boys wrong," which the officer ignored. He continued on his way, but Mr. Glaze, he said, followed and threatened to kick him out of his wheelchair. Concerned for his safety and that of his girlfriend, who was walking behind him, Officer Kuzak put his hand on the gun he still carries.
He said he would have been ready to shoot to defend if the need arose.
"He was a large enough guy that I thought he could do what he said he would do," Officer Kuzak said. "I knew exactly what I would have had to do."
But Mr. Glaze, who was attracting attention, then darted into the courthouse and into the courtroom of Common Pleas Judge Beth Lazzara, on the fifth floor, where he caused a disturbance and was asked to leave, Sheriff William Mullen said. Mr. Glaze then attempted to swing at a sheriff's deputy but missed, said sheriff's Lt. Jack Kearney. A deputy then stunned Mr. Glaze with a Taser.
Mr. Glaze was arrested for the courtroom disturbance before Officer Kuzak and his girlfriend made it to the sheriff's office to file a report, the lieutenant said.
Mr. Glaze was due in Judge Lazzara's courtroom for a mental health court review hearing stemming from a January 2009 case.
He faces charges including harassment, simple assault and disorderly conduct related to the encounter with Officer Kuzak and aggravated assault on a police officer and resisting arrest in connection with the fight in Judge Lazzara's courtroom.
He was taken to the Allegheny County Jail, where Lt. Kearney did not expect him to be eligible for bail.