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Police file charges against Baldwin Borough man in police shooting incident

| Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, 11:54 a.m.

Baldwin Borough police filed charges against a man who was threatening to kill himself in his home when one officer who responded shot another officer in the back.

Bryan Robert Lijewski, 30, of Baldwin is charged with illegally possessing a firearm, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of a child. Lijewski was expected to surrender to District Judge John N. Bova's office on Wednesday, his lawyer said.

Lijewski could not be reached for comment.

Police filed charges Feb. 20.

Lijewski was carrying a loaded shotgun around his home on Elmwood Drive when his girlfriend called 911, police said. Four officers arrived, including Sgt. Ralph Miller, who knocked on the front door while another officer moved into a backup position behind him.

Lijewski answered the door but refused to show police both hands. Miller could see a woman holding a child in the house and wanted to speak with her, but Lijewski began to shut the door. Another officer put his foot in the door and Miller put his shoulder to the door to try to open it wider.

The backup officer fired two shots with his patrol rifle, striking Miller, 54, between the bottom of his bulletproof vest and his belt.

Miller underwent three surgeries in UPMC Mercy, Uptown, for a shattered hip and pelvis and possible nerve damage of his foot. Police Chief Michael Scott said doctors anticipate Miller will be hospitalized for three more weeks and may need physical therapy.

Police have not released the identity of the officer who shot Miller.

Police filed charges against Lijewski because “there was a level of violence that went on in the home before police arrived,” Scott said.

Lijewski ripped the phone off the wall when his girlfriend called 911, punched holes in the bathroom door and almost broke through a bedroom door where his girlfriend hid with two children, Scott said.

Phil DiLucente, who with attorney Jim Ecker is representing Lijewski, said he is not sure whether his client would be facing charges if Miller had not been injured.

“Police officers have a certain procedure they have to follow in any domestic call. If they had made entry and found there was no true victim under the circumstances, maybe not. In this particular case, the officer did get shot ,and there was an understanding that maybe a little more had gone on in the residence,” he said.

Lijewski has sought treatment since the incident, DiLucente said, although he would not specify what type of treatment.

Allegheny County police are investigating.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927.

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