Officer responding to Pa. home disturbance killed

Officer responding to Pa. home disturbance killed

PENN HILLS, Pa. (AP) - A police officer was fatally shot in suburban Pittsburgh as he heeded superiors’ advice to wait in his patrol car for backup to handle a deadly conflict at a home.

Penn Hills Officer Michael Crawshaw, 32, was killed Sunday evening after the suspect approached the car, opened fire with what appeared to be an assault rifle and fled, Chief Howard Burton said.

Police searched for the suspect and would not say Monday morning whether anyone was in custody.

Crawshaw was the first to respond to a 911 call made about 8:20 p.m. in which gunshots and screaming were heard, Burton said. Police had responded to calls there before, one reason why Crawshaw was advised to wait, Burton said.

Full Story Here: Officer responding to Pa. home disturbance killed

This is happening ALL too often. Our police officers are being murdered in great numbers lately.

Not to 2nd guess the situation in Pittsburgh, but sitting in your car, waiting for backup, as a gunfight is, or already has developed, is NOT the best strategy an officer can employ.

This reads like a really BAD, 3rd rate horror story, and as bad as I feel for the officer and his family, I am feeling that there were some very serious errors made in this instance.

1. This was a residence where there had been other disturbance calls in the past. That happens, and most departments have a list of KNOWN addresses where trouble occurs.

2. He was *advised by a superior* to wait in his patrol car for backup. Did the superior tell him to wait a few houses away from the residence? Was the officer parked in front OF the residence?

I am not about to denigrate a deceased officer, not in ANY way, but for the love of God, what kind of tactical training are they giving these officers and their superiors?

Yes, I am well aware that officers DO get killed in the line of duty, it’s a hazard of the trade. But when errors in tactics like this happen, and also in the recent murders of the Lakewood Police Department officers, an act that was made possible because all 4 officers were seated in a semi-circle shaped booth, I have to wonder, what has happened to tactical and defensive training!

Training in tactics and procedures is given to ALL officers, but situational awareness is one of the biggest factors in keeping yourself alive on the street. All the *classroom* training in the world does you no good on the street if you fail to grasp it’s use as it applies to your current situation!

Departments can NEVER stress in-service training, continued education and situational awareness too much or too often!

To the family and friends of Officer Michael Crawshaw, our deepest, and most sincere condolences. We ARE a police family and we share in your suffering and pain in this time of loss, we are hurting with you!

Once this is over, I hope you will ask questions of the Penn Hills Police Department and it’s Chief, Howard Burton. I would hope that you ask some really HARD questions and hopefully, you can get some departmental policy in place that appears to be severely lacking!

And to ALL officers, COMMON SENSE is one of your best allies, use it ALL the time!

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8 Responses to Officer responding to Pa. home disturbance killed

  1. Gawfer says:

    Last night while returning from the grocery store, my wife and I noticed a Sheriff’s Helicopter circling over a nearby neighborhood, so I decided to investigate. We found the location being surveilled, but it wasn’t until we were exiting the culdesac a patrol officer arrived on scene.

    We have noticed lately, that prior to any ground activity, air support is deployed for law enforcement which adds a safety factor to these domestic calls. I can’t help but think had there been an air unit supporting officer Crawshaw, the ‘eyes in the sky’ would have likely alerted him to the impending danger, preventing his death.

    I too believe there was a deficit in protocol. Perhaps parking too close to the residence, or positioning himself in a visually impaired attitude, or taking directions from someone who was not on scene and had limited knowledge of the current situation. Whatever the reason, the loss is unacceptable.

  2. TexasFred says:

    The officer, Michael Crawshaw, was parked two or three houses away from the scene while waiting for backup when he was shot, Penn Hills police Chief Howard Burton told WPXI-TV. He had been on the Penn Hills police force for two years.

    Another Ambush, Another Officer Slain - PoliceLink

    As a few more *details* come out, maybe he wasn’t parked directly in front of the house, but DAMN, to be sitting IN the car?

  3. Silver Fox says:

    Fred both you and Gawfer bring out some interesting points, many which seem like common sense to someone like myself who knows little of police tactics. I would bet that this was a high crime area and as such extra precautions were in order, but thats just speculation on my part. The bottom line is that there does seem to be an increase of this type of incident, therefore police departments all over the country need to take a hard look at their protocols and make changes where necessary. I saw this story on FOX news online earlier and thought about posting on it, but then decided not too, as I feel a lack of knowledge on the subject. A good post Fred.

  4. BobF says:

    Along with these shooting there will be another attack on gun ownership by citizens.

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the officer and for all those who put their lives on the line to protect us.

  5. ng4779 says:

    Truly another terrible loss. Thanks for posting.

  6. mrchuck says:

    All police are a “target of opportunity”, and always have been.
    We just have had to be totally aware of this and never let your awareness go into neutral. 24-7-365.
    I am retired now, but always, always I am aware of where I am and where I put myself.
    These habits are no different than when I was cleaning out tunnels back in the good old days of 1961-65 MACV-SOG.
    Be careful out there!
    God bless that fallen officer.
    PS, there are going to be more LEO deaths like this, until the “herd of perps is balanced out”.

  7. Butch says:

    after the suspect approached the car, opened fire with what appeared to be an assault rifle and fled, Chief Howard Burton said.

    Sad and disgusting. There should be a ‘shoot to kill’ order on this freakin’ monster.

  8. brwnavy says:

    Damn!! Prayers and my sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Officer Crawshaw.

    This just makes me sick and angry. Although I’ve never been a police officer I have many friends who were, some still are. Far too many have died in the line of duty.

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