Hundreds pay respects to fallen Canonsburg Officer Scott Bashioum
Ashley Bashioum knew her husband's job was to run toward danger, she told hundreds of family, friends, strangers and law enforcement officers who gathered Wednesday to mourn fallen Canonsburg police Officer Scott Bashioum.
He knew it too, she said.
"During his career as a police officer, he went toward these dangers and through the doors into the unknown that awaited him and his brothers and sisters," she said amid tears in a packed Church of the Convenant in Washington. "Because of his faith, he went through these doors into the valley of the shadow of death fearing no evil, knowing God was with him."
Bashioum, 52, was gunned down responding to a 911 call for a domestic disturbance at a home on Woodcrest Drive early last Thursday morning. His partner, Jim Saieva Jr., was shot and injured.
Saieva was an honorary pallbearer.
Waiting for the procession carrying slain officer Scott Bashioum. pic.twitter.com/ubCc6cYWl0— Megan (@meganguzaTrib) November 16, 2016
Hundreds of officers from across Pennsylvania and beyond joined the procession, which carried Bashioum from Consol Energy Field to the church. A sea of gray, blue and black stood at attention as the hearse carrying the slain officer pulled in front of the church.
Dozens of officers stood outside when the church reached capacity, and the service was broadcast over loudspeaker for those outside.
After the service, the procession rolled through Canonsburg and past Bashioum's department that he served for seven years.
Hundreds lined Pike Street for the procession, though the crowd remained subdued and nearly silent as hundreds of law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks and other first responders passed.
Procession beginning in Washington pic.twitter.com/Yltfeogrs3— Megan (@meganguzaTrib) November 16, 2016
Canonsburg resident Bill Carter said he joined the crowd out of respect and admiration for the officer.
"They never know if they'll come home," he said.
Monica DiRocco brought her children to support Bashioum and the department. Her children attend South Central Elementary in Canonsburg, and officers play a large role as resource officers, she said.
As police vehicles with lowered windows drove past, DiRocco's children whispered "thank you" to the men and women inside. "No, thank you," one officer said back.
Ashley Bashioum said she has met countless community members who shared stories of how her husband saved their lives when hope seemed lost.
"Scott was the most selfless person I have ever known," she said.
Bashioum worked as part of the Smith Township road department when he and his wife met, she said, but "he had bigger dreams."
Ashley Bashioum vowed to never let their children — two sons and two daughters — forget their father.
"He was their hero," she said. "And not a day will go by that I won't remind them how much their daddy loved them."
Canonsburg Patrolman Matthew Tharp said Bashioum spoke to his children every day.
"As a young parent, I aspire to be half the parent he was," Tharp said. "He was an amazing father and an amazing person. We won't be the same for quite some time."
Officers file into the Church of the Covenant for Ofc Bashioum's funeral pic.twitter.com/scXZyNHi7R— Megan (@meganguzaTrib) November 16, 2016
When Bashioum and Saieva arrived at the Woodcrest Drive home just after 3 a.m., Michael Cwiklinski began firing at them from a second-floor bedroom window, authorities said. Bashioum was hit twice and later died at Canonsburg Hospital. Saieva was struck once and taken to the same hospital. He later was airlifted to Allegheny General Hospital, where he underwent surgery.
Cwiklinski also shot and killed his wife, 28-year-old Dalia Sabae, who had a protection from abuse order against her husband, before killing himself. Cwiklinski, 47, previously had been charged with assaulting her.
Investigators have not said what prompted Cwiklinski's ambush. He had planted propane tanks and acetylene torches in his SUV and in his home, but his attempts to ignite them failed.
Bashioum is the 122nd line of duty death this year and the 56th by intentional gunfire, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks line of duty deaths. He is the third officer killed in Pennsylvania this year.
"The sadness of his absence will never end," Ashley Bashioum said. "There will be times when I awaken at night and nothing but darkness surrounds me. I know with every ounce of my being that Scott is in heaven now — and he's happy, and he's smiling that contagious smile because in heaven, there's peace."
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519 or firstname.lastname@example.org.