Baldwin Borough officer shot by colleague during domestic call

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A Baldwin Borough police officer was shot in the back by another officer when they answered a call for a domestic disturbance early this morning.

Officials identified the officer as Sgt. Ralph J. Miller Jr. He is a patient at UPMC Mercy, where Baldwin Borough Police Chief Michael Scott said he was "in good spirits" and listed in stable condition.

No one else was injured.

Sgt. Miller has served on the force for 14 years. He is the borough's traffic officer and also writes grant applications for the department.

Council members called Sgt. Miller one of the more experienced officers on the force.

"It's a darn shame that it happened to such a good officer," Baldwin Borough Councilman John Conley said.

One of Sgt. Miller's sons is an officer in the West Homestead police department, Mr. Conley said.

Allegheny County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said the incident began at 3:45 a.m. when a woman who lives on Elmwood Drive called police to report her boyfriend was distraught and carrying a shotgun. She told police she locked herself in a bedroom but they didn't need to respond.

Three officers from Baldwin Borough and one from Whitehall went to the house. Sgt. Miller and another Baldwin officer knocked and the man answered the door with a milk jug in one hand, but the other hand wasn't visible.

Officers repeatedly asked the man to show his other hand, and then two shots were fired, apparently by an officer or officers. One bullet hit Sgt. Miller in the back, between the bottom of his protective vest and his belt, Superintendent Moffatt said.

Then another officer fired a shot into the side of the house before police took the man into custody. Police said he was not armed and the shotgun was later found on the ground outside the home.

"[Sgt. Miller] was in good spirits and was very supportive of the officer who injured him," Chief Scott said.

Police said charges unrelated to the injured officer are pending against the man whose actions generated the emergency call.

Police said two children, ages 6 years old and 17 months old, also were in the house.

The other two Baldwin officers have been placed on administrative leave while county police continue to investigate the incident.

Other nearby police departments have offered to patrol in Baldwin while the investigation continues and the department goes through grief counseling.

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Andrew McGill: or 412-263-1497. First Published February 10, 2013 9:00 AM


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