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Domestic incident hearing for Baldwin man postponed

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Blood drive

A replenishment blood drive in the name of Baldwin Borough police Sgt. Ralph Miller has been scheduled for Tuesday from noon to 6 p.m. at the Baldwin Borough Municipal Building, 3344 Churchview Avenue.

The blood drive is sponsored by Baldwin Borough police, Whitehall police, the Western Pennsylvania Police Benevolent Foundation, Baldwin Emergency Medical Service and the Central Blood Bank.

To schedule an appointment, call 412-292-3098. Walk-ins are also welcome.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

A Baldwin Borough man will appear in district court next month on charges relating to a domestic incident at his Elmwood Drive home that ended with one police officer shooting another officer in the back.

A preliminary hearing for Bryan Robert Lijewski, 30, in front of District Judge John Bova was postponed Tuesday to provide Baldwin police time to have officers present to testify, lawyers said.

Lijewski turned himself in to police in at Bova's office last week on charges of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, endangering the welfare of children and firearm charges. He was being held in the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bond.

The preliminary hearing now is scheduled for April 9.

Police filed charges against Lijewski because of “the level of violence” that occurred in the home, where he is accused of ripping a phone out of the wall and creating a “degree of terror,” Baldwin police Chief Michael Scott said.

“Everything was directed to the fact that the woman and children were endangered and the fact that he wasn't allowed to have a firearm,” said Scott, noting Lijewski's criminal history.

The charges triggered three probation violations for Lijewski, who in 2003 waived charges of trespassing, receiving stolen property and theft. He also pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

Lijewski's girlfriend called 911 at 4:25 a.m. on Feb. 10 and accused him of carrying a knife and a loaded firearm and threatening to harm himself, according to a criminal complaint. Two children were inside the home.

Four officers arrived, including Sgt. Ralph Miller, who knocked on the front door while another officer moved into a backup position. Police have not identified the second officer, and the criminal complaint doesn't list the names of any of the Baldwin officers involved.

Lijewski opened the door and repeatedly refused to show police his hands, police said. Miller asked to talk to the woman who called 911, but Lijewski tried to close the door on him, police said.

Miller pushed his shoulder against the door, while another officer stuck his foot in the door to stop it from closing, police said. One officer's rifle went off, and Miller was struck at least once in the back, police said.

Police found signs of violence inside the home. There were several holes in the walls and a door frame was damaged, according to court records. Lijewski's girlfriend told police he wouldn't let her leave the home and stopped her from calling relatives.

A Remington shotgun was found in the backyard of the home after the incident.

Lawyer Jim Ecker, who represents Lijewski along with attorney Phil DiLucente, declined to comment on what happened in the house.

“He's very, very sorry about what happened,” Ecker said.

As Lijewski left the courtroom in handcuffs after turning himself in last week, he apologized for the incident at his home.

His girlfriend, with a baby on her hip, sat inside the courtroom Tuesday, when the prelimary hearing originally was set.

“The situation is far from being over. We feel very confident with what we can present in a certain time,” DiLucente said.

Miller likely will be in the hospital for at least another three weeks, Scott said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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