Sadly, and tragically, 3 Pittsburgh Police Officers lost their lives on April 4th, 2009, in the line of duty, at approximately 0715 hours. 2 other Pittsburgh Police Officers were injured in the line of duty. Officers Eric Kelly, Stephan Mayhle and Paul Sciullo III were shot and killed as they responded to a domestic dispute in the Stanton Heights neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh. Officer Kelly was actually on his way home, a block or two away, but responded to back up his comrades unselfishly. No matter what you do in the way of public safety, Police, Fire, EMS, or Emergency Management, this hits home. Routine calls, as this one was called, are not routine anymore. The world we have sworn to protect and serve around us has changed. Respect is lost. Respect for elders, law enforcement, bosses, and human life. Human life has been seriously devalued. Laws are made to protect the guilty more than the innocent. Political and personal views and opinions are skewed with blind faith, false beliefs and sometimes with no basis in facts. Reportedly, those 3 police officers were shot over the belief that they were trying to take away the shooter's "right to bear arms". Apparently, he thought the way the government was being run today with the current economic strife was the root of all of his problems.The alledged shooter lost his job, had been kicked out of the military, had relationship problems, which resulted in a protection from abuse order from his girlfriend. The mother of the alledged shooter called the police to help her and him. Those police officers, I'm sure, would have led him to a correct pathway, if they had the chance. They would have helped. We all would have helped, if given the chance. So much has been lost today! Human lives were taken. Families destroyed. 3 Police Officers who were sworn to protect and serve the laws meant for all to abide, were gunned down in violation of those laws! And while life goes on, we will eventually accept their ultimate sacrifice. We will forever remember them because truly grieving for them really never ends. Ladies and gentlemen, my brothers and sisters, this one hurts. We all respond to "domestics" from time to time, on a "routine" basis. Our response areas are becoming more dynamic as we move forward. "Scene safety" is nothing to be taken for granted! Lives can be and are changed forever with a gunshot. The homes and other residences we respond to may be booby trapped by meth lab cooks, other illegal drug manufacturers, deranged thinkers, or extremist militia members. I'm afraid that simply stating "be careful" or "stay safe" may not be enough. We need to be more deliberate, careful and thorough in our responses and size ups. When questions arise and have not been answered, we should seek the answers before we proceed, especially where our lives are concerned. There are several incidents out there whereby, domestic disputes were followed by murder and arson. One incident that I am thinking about right now, involved gas lines being tampered with, resulting in explosions, death and injuries. Our world is changing. It has become more dangerous. Look out for each other. Look out for me and I will for you. Say a prayer for the fallen today. Say a prayer for all who have fallen. While we may not know them, they did protect us. They would do the same for us. May they all rest in peace. They all served in the finest of Public Safety traditions.
May God protect us all, but especially their families, who have lost their immediate protectors.
Mt. Oliver Fire Department
Allegheny County Station 199