Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Baldwin Police Sergeant Shot by Accident Wounded in Back by Fellow Officer during House Call

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Baldwin Police Sergeant Shot by Accident Wounded in Back by Fellow Officer during House Call

Article excerpt

Responding to reports of a suicidal man with a shotgun, a Baldwin Borough police officer accidentally shot another officer in the back early Sunday morning, sending him to the hospital.

Allegheny County Police say the wounded officer, identified by borough officials as Sgt. Ralph Miller, 54, underwent surgery and is in stable condition. Both the officer who shot him and another officer who fired his weapon have been placed on administrative leave while authorities investigate, county police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said. He would not identify them.

"The investigation is still going on," he said. "We don't want to jeopardize anything."

The incident began with a 3:45 a.m. phone call from a home on the 5100 block of Elmwood Drive in Baldwin Borough. The caller told police her boyfriend, armed with a loaded shotgun, was distraught and threatening to harm himself. She locked herself in a bedroom and soon told dispatchers that her boyfriend had unloaded the shotgun and that they no longer needed to come.

But there were children in the house -- two girls, one 17 months old, the other 6 years old -- and police came anyway. Backed up by two Baldwin Borough officers and a Whitehall police officer, Sgt. Miller knocked on the front door, knowing there was likely a firearm in the house.

The man, who has not been identified by police, opened the door. He held a milk jug in one hand. The officers, who couldn't see his other hand and feared he was holding a gun, yelled for him to show both his hands. He refused, closing the door.

For reasons that still aren't clear, the officer behind Sgt. Miller then opened fire, squeezing off two shots from his patrol rifle. Behind him, the third Baldwin Borough officer fired a shot into the side of the house.

At least one bullet hit Sgt. Miller in the back, wounding him just below the line of his bulletproof vest. …

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