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Troy Hill man charged after police chase from Point Breeze to Verona

| Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, 7:50 p.m.

City

Officer nearly struck in chase; suspect nabbed

Pittsburgh police charged a Troy Hill man Saturday with leading them on a 70 to 80 mph chase from Point Breeze to Verona and nearly running over an officer.

Melvin Solomon, 41, is charged with eight offenses, including attempted homicide and two counts of aggravated assault, according to a police affidavit. The chase began about 2 a.m. at Penn and Braddock avenues after police stopped Solomon because he allegedly was driving too fast. Solomon told police he fled because he knew there was a warrant for his arrest stemming from a probation violation, police said. Police chased Solomon, who was driving his girlfriend's Ford Explorer, through Homewood, Wilkinsburg, Penn Hills and Oakmont until they cornered him at a dead-end in Verona.

When officers approached the SUV with guns drawn, Solomon threw the vehicle in reverse. An officer dived behind his patrol car to get out of the way. The officers opened fire, but Solomon fled on foot after wrecking into a utility pole, police said.

Solomon ran to his girlfriend's nearby home and instructed her to report the vehicle as stolen. She did but later told police about Solomon's involvement, police said.

Somerset County

2 charged with breaking into church

Police used a credit card left at the scene of a church break-in to find two Somerset men and charge them with burglary.

The suspects, Ian James, 27, and Woodrow Douglas Engle III, 27, used a prybar to break into the Somerset Church of the Brethren on Berlin Plank Road in Somerset Township at 9:30 p.m. Thursday. They broke into the safe in the church office, police said, stole a credit card and obtained the card's personal identification number from the safe.

Police said the suspects left one of their credit cards in the office after using it to unlock the office door after it locked behind them. Police said the pair used the church credit card to obtain $900 in cash, which they used to buy drugs.

The pair were arraigned before District Judge Ken Johnson and remain in jail.

State

GOP revs up for push

Pennsylvania Republicans concluded their fall meeting Saturday in Camp Hill, which offered members a chance to participate in training sessions and campaign meetings to prepare for the final stretch before the November election.

Party leaders said they plan to run a large grassroots campaign to reach voters in the state and said they've made more than 2 million voter contacts.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal spoke during the meeting Friday night along with Gov. Tom Corbett. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney leads the GOP ticket. Statewide GOP candidates are: Tom Smith for U.S. Senate, David Freed for attorney general, John Maher for auditor general and Diana Irey Vaughan for treasurer.

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