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Second suspect arrested in shooting of Clairton officer

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By Bobby Kerlik and Michael Hasch
Saturday, April 9, 2011

A second man was arrested Friday night in the shooting of a Clairton police officer.

Marcus Andrejco-Jones was taken into custody and charged with shooting Officer James Kuzak Jr., 39, when police responded to a call about a home invasion Monday night, Allegheny County Police Lt. Andrew Schurman said.

Andrejco-Jones, who was taken into custody without incident at his Hawkins Village apartment in Rankin, was to be taken to Night Court for arraignment on numerous charges including assault on a police officer, aggravated assault, robbery and attempted homicide, Schurman said.

Myles Hutchinson, 21, of McKeesport, was arrested on similar charges Tuesday.

Earlier yesterday, Common Pleas Judge Edward J. Borkowski rejected a defense attorney's arguments to set a low bond for Hutchinson, who appeared via video conference from the jail and said nothing during the hearing.

Hutchinson's attorney, Fred Rabner, said his client steadfastly denies involvement. "He's begged the officers to go back and follow his path that night and watch videos from gas stations to show where he was," Rabner said, though he would not say where his client was or what he was doing.

Assistant District Attorney R. Bruce Linsenmayer said Hutchinson has a criminal past, citing two cases in which prosecutors withdrew charges and a conviction for marijuana possession.

In a 2008 case, McKeesport police accused Hutchinson of getting into a fight, pointing a gun at a man and threatening to kill him, court records show. The District Attorney's Office dropped the charges, after the victim and officers didn't show for trial and Judge Randal B. Todd declined to grant prosecutors a second delay. Linsenmayer said Hutchinson was arrested for a 2004 robbery, but the charges were withdrawn.

Rabner said Hutchinson wasn't in the Clairton neighborhood the night of Kuzak's shooting and witnesses wrongly picked him out of a police photo array. Kuzak, a graduate of Seton LaSalle High School and Point Park College, was shot in his forearm, side and shoulder above his bulletproof vest.

The Central Blood Bank, which is sponsoring two blood drives for Kuzak, said he required numerous transfusions to replace the volume of blood he lost. The blood bank estimates that Kuzak, who began working part-time in Clairton after leaving the Peters Police Department, lost half of his blood in the shooting.

Two bullets remain in Kuzak's body and more surgery is anticipated, the blood bank said.

Fellow officers have said there are fears that Kuzak, who remains hospitalized in UPMC Mercy, Uptown, could suffer paralysis from his wounds.

Additional Information:

Blood drives

Central Blood Bank will host two blood drives for Clairton police Officer James Kuzak Jr.:

Monday -- noon to 7 p.m. at the Peters Township Fire Department on East McMurray Road; call 724-941-4176.

Tuesday -- noon to 7 p.m. at the Clairton Fire Department on Ravensburg Boulevard; call 412-233-8123.

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