Officer shot dead in New Kensington, police find Jeep thought to be involved

Updated 30 minutes ago

A police officer was shot and killed Friday night during a traffic stop in New Kensington.

Acting as a spokesman for New Kensington police, Lower Burrell Chief Tim Weitzel confirmed the officer’s death. He declined to name the man and the police department he worked for.

The officer was shot in the chest, according to emergency radio transmissions.

Numerous first responders were sent to the scene in the 1200 block of Leishman Avenue at about 8:10 p.m., according to Westmoreland County 911.

In a series of alerts, police instructed other departments to look for brown, older model Jeep Grand Cherokee “involved in an officer’s shooting.”

Just after 11 p.m., a police radio transmission indicated that the car had been found. It was unclear where or whether anyone had been apprehended.

They earlier had warned police to use “extreme caution” when approaching the car.

The transmission said the car had a temporary license plate that was registered to a Penn Hills resident. They also gave what appeared to be a full registration number.

One resident said that police were going to residences and telling people to stay inside.

Police swarmed the scene from numerous neighboring towns and at least as far away as Cheswick, West Leechburg and Washington Township.

At least eight police dogs searched the neighborhood. A Pittsburgh SWAT team and a crew from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also was on hand.

Many police along the wide perimeter of the scene carried rifles.

A number of officers and New Kensington Mayor Tom Guzzo met behind closed doors and the blinds drawn at the police station. The mayor was not immediately available.

A number of police from various towns gathered at Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison, where the officer had been taken.

A reporter was met at the door by a hospital spokeswoman who was steering people other than police and relatives away from an area near the Emergency Department where they gathered.

Westmoreland County Detective John Clark was among the officers at AVH. He said Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck and other detectives were at the crime scene investigating. He said the officer’s family asked him to keep all media away.

A press conference was scheduled for about 11 p.m.

Check back later for updates.

Jacob Tierney and Mary Ann Thomas are Tribune-Review staff writers. Reach Tierney at 724-836-6646 or jtierney@tribweb.com. Thomas can be reached at 724-226-4691, mthomas@tribweb.com or on Twitter @MaThomas_Trib. Staff writer Tawnya Panizzi contributed.

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