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Bob Parker

Bob Parker

Lt. Robert Parker served with the Omaha (Neb.) PD for 30 years and commanded the Emergency Response Unit. He is responsible for training thousands of law enforcement instructors in NTOA's Patrol Response to Active Shooters courses.

Jose Medina

Jose Medina

Officer Jose Medina is an active member of the Piscataway (N.J.) Police Department's SWAT team and runs Awareness Protective Consultants (Team APC) tactical training.

Massacre in Pittsburgh: The Unthinkable Strikes Again

Three more brave officers have been killed in an engagement with a determined active shooter.

April 15, 2009  |  by Robert O'Brien - Also by this author

Officer Paul Sciullo III, age 37

Officer Stephen Mayhle, age 29

Officer Eric Kelly, age 41

The Pittsburgh and Oakland tragedies come amid one of the deadliest multiple murder epidemics in U.S. history. Within the last 30 days, at least 70 people have died at the hands of murderers in at least eight shooting sprees across America.

This many mass murder incidents in so short a time span is unprecedented. That seven police officers are among their victims is beyond alarming. American police are being murdered from ambush, and this has not been seen since the militant era of the 1960s and 1970s.

What happened in Pittsburgh? I only know from published news accounts, but here’s what we know so far.

Shortly after 7 a.m. on Saturday April 4, two Pittsburgh officers assigned to the Zone 5 station responded to a domestic disturbance report. Both officers entered the house, and were suddenly ambushed by a gunman armed with a shotgun and wearing body armor. (The suspect in custody is the complainant’s son.)

One officer immediately went down with a wound to the head. The second officer shot the suspect in the leg and chest, causing the suspect to drop the shotgun and retreat back to a bedroom. The second officer pursued, but was also shot in the head by the suspect who was now armed with an AK-47.

The second officer withdrew to the front porch, where the gunman executed him with head shots. Then the suspect also executed the first downed officer with head shots.

By this time, an off-duty, in uniform officer who was en route home, heard the call and rushed to assist in his personal vehicle. He was cut down in the middle of the street in a hail of AK-47 fire, but managed to call for help on his radio.

A backup officer arrived and came under immediate AK-47 fire. He returned fire before being wounded in the hand. Then he managed to drag the fallen off-duty officer to cover behind an SUV that was being riddled with bullets.

An off-duty deputy chief responded from home, as did numerous police, who medevaced the two wounded officers to the hospital. Tragically, the off-duty officer died, while the other officer was treated and released.

Responding police reinforcements and SWAT immediately found themselves in a fierce firefight with the gunman. The gunfire was so intense that rescue of the first two downed officers was impossible.

SWAT took up positions around the suspect’s brick house as the firefight raged. SWAT’s Lenco BEAR armored rescue vehicle withstood numerous bullet hits, including two very visible hits to the front windshield.

I’ve heard estimates of the number of rounds exchanged ranging anywhere from 100 to hundreds. Those who’ve seen and heard news video of the gun battle heard numerous bullets being fired.

Finally, after four hours, the suspect who was wounded in the leg, surrendered to police, and was transported to the hospital. He survived his wound. However, both initial downed officers didn’t survive.

Pittsburgh police proved what Oakland police had proven only two weeks prior and what America’s police prove every single day: No matter the danger, no matter the odds or cost, we will prevail in our sworn duty to protect and serve.

Now is a time to grieve and honor our fallen Pittsburgh and Oakland brothers, along with all the thousands of our fallen brethren who have honored America by faithfully protecting and serving for more than 200 years. However, our time to mourn is brief, because duty calls, just as it continues to do so in Pittsburgh and Oakland.

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