Hundreds mourn for slain Canonsburg officer who was 'great guy'
Days before his death, Canonsburg police Officer Scott Bashioum went on a fishing trip with some of his fellow officers from the tight-knit Washington County department.
His chief took solace in that Thursday morning when he spoke of Bashioum's death in the line of duty.
"A lot of my guys are close together," said Chief Alex Coghill. "One of the saddest parts of this is they just came back from a fishing trip. I was just looking at the pictures and just remembering him fondly."
Bashioum, 52, was killed early Thursday morning when he and Officer James Saieva were shot in an ambush while responding to a domestic call on Woodcrest Road. Both were taken to Canonsburg Hospital, where Bashioum died. Saieva was flown by medical helicopter to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh's North Side, where he was in stable condition.
Bashioum was good at everything, Coghill said.
"He was a great guy. He was a loving husband, a loving father — he was always willing to do whatever he had to do," the chief said. " ... He was just one of those guys that always was there whenever you needed anything."
At a candlelight vigil Thursday night, hundreds shed tears at a makeshift memorial for Bashioum outside Canonsburg Borough offices. Mayor David Rhome read a statement from Bashioum's widow.
"He had the biggest heart, one his family and the community will never forget," Ashley Bashioum wrote. "His love for his family was endless. His commitment to serving his country was his passion."
Bashioum was a father of four and a volunteer firefighter with the Smith Township Volunteer Fire Department, Jim O'Brien, pastor of Faith Chapel Community Church in neighboring Lawrence, told the mourners.
Bashioum "made the ultimate sacrifice. It's something we take for granted," O'Brien said. "We were all asleep in our beds and he responded to the call, not knowing what he was going to face."
Earlier in the day, Rhome said receiving the news of Bashioum's death was stomach-turning.
"We've lost a friend, a comrade," he said. "Our hearts and sympathy are just going out to the family and to all of our folks in blue."
Bethel Park paramedic Chris Cook didn't know Bashioum or Saieva, but said he was drawn to Canonsburg to pay his respects.
"We're all brothers," said Cook, 48, of Washington. "We all support each other – police, firemen, EMTs."
Coghill said Bashioum talked about his children all the time, and Rhome had a message for them.
"We will be here for you — whatever we can do," he said. "We can't take back what has happened. All we can do is move forward with the warm hearts and the surrounding of people ... that are here with us, and somehow we'll find our Father to get through this."
Megan Guza and Tony Raap are Tribune-Review staff writers. Reach Guza at 412-370-8519 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach Raap at 412-320-7827 email@example.com.