Suspect in Baldwin police shooting case waives preliminary hearing
An internal investigation into a friendly fire shooting that left a Baldwin Borough police sergeant injured after responding to a domestic call concluded on Tuesday.
The results of the investigation — which included a firearm review, interviews with officers and a review of an Allegheny County police investigation of the incident — now will be reviewed with Baldwin Mayor Alexander Bennett to determine if any action should be taken, police Chief Michael Scott said.
Scott declined to comment on the results of the investigation, pending the mayor's review.
Baldwin police conduct an internal investigation anytime a firearm is discharged on a police call.
“We want to see if any rules and procedures were broken,” Scott said.
Allegheny County Police conducted a separate investigation into the incident and determined that there was no criminal negligence by Baldwin police responding to the scene, Scott said.
“They were very thorough. That's what took so long,” Scott said. “They looked at everything.”
The internal investigation by Baldwin police looked at the actions of all three Baldwin officers that responded to the Elmwood Drive home in early February after police received a call that a man in the home, Bryan Robert Lijewski, was 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 twice in the back, police said.
Police are not releasing the name of the second officer.
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.
Lijewski, 30, Elmwood Drive is charged with illegally possessing a firearm, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of a child. He waived the charges before District Judge John N. Bova on Tuesday.
Bond was reduced from $25,000 to $15,000. Lijewski, who has a detainer against him, remains in the Allegheny County Jail.
Lijewski declined to comment after the hearing.
Lawyer Jim Ecker, who represents Lijewski along with attorney Phil DiLucente, declined to comment on what happened in the house.
The attorney's said Lijewski was a boilermaker and father of two young children.
Miller continues to recover and was released from the hospital.
The other two Baldwin officers that responded to the initial call remain on administrative leave, Scott said.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.