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Charges build for shooting suspect

Tony LaRussa
| Thursday, March 1, 2007, 12:00 p.m.

A man accused of shooting an off-duty West View police officer after wrestling away his gun was charged Wednesday with attempted homicide and other offenses.

Michael Langer, 23, of West View, initially charged with aggravated assault, is accused of shooting rookie police Officer Sean Hein, 19, of Millvale, about 2 a.m. Feb. 16 in an alley behind Langer's home.

A preliminary hearing for Langer was postponed after prosecutors added charges of attempted homicide, theft and illegal possession of a firearm. The hearing before West View District Judge Richard Opiela has been rescheduled for March 28.

Langer remained at Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond.

Hein, who was shot twice, underwent surgery to remove the bullets and to repair damage to his lungs and spleen, said West View police Chief Charles Holtgraver. Hein also suffered a chipped bone in his hip. The officer's recovery is expected to take six to eight weeks, Holtgraver said.

While in custody, Langer admitted taking the gun and shooting Hein after the two fought, police said. Police have not recovered the gun, said Allegheny County Police Lt. Christopher Kearns.

Langer told police he gave the weapon to someone but refused to identify the person, Holtgraver said.

Police declined to say why Hein was in Cooper Alley the morning of the incident.

Hein is a part-time officer who was working three days a week in Sewickley and one day a week in West View. He graduated in June from Allegheny County Police Academy.

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