Police: Off-duty Pa. officer shot, killed by road rage driver

Officer Charles G. Stipetich, 23, was killed by a driver who followed him home, police said


By John Hayes
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

BLAWNOX, Pa. — This article was updated at 4 p.m. on Monday, July 4, 2022.

A man has been charged in the killing of off-duty Oakdale police Officer Charles G. Stipetich after the two were involved in an altercation Sunday night in Blawnox.

Kevin Alan McSwiggen, of Pittsburgh, was charged with criminal homicide and two counts of reckless endangerment, according to the criminal complaint.

Mr. Stipetich, 23, of Blawnox, was shot in the upper abdomen following what Allegheny County police described as a road rage incident that ended at 451 Fountain St. near Mr. Stipetich's home at about 10:30 p.m.

Mr. McSwiggen, 40, suffered a gunshot wound to his upper body. Both men were taken to hospitals in critical condition.

According to the criminal complaint, Blawnox police Officer Nick Hawk was on duty sitting on a porch when he heard two gunshots. At about the same time a 911 call was placed. Officer Hawk and another policeman were dispatched to the scene.

"Upon arrival, Officer Hawk saw [the victim's father] Charles P. Stipetich waving him down," the complaint said. "[The elder] Mr. Stipetich told Officer Hawk that his son had been shot."

The victim, Mr. Stipetich, was found lying on the road bleeding from the upper abdomen. He was treated by police until an ambulance arrived and took him to Allegheny General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Mr. McSwiggen was found in a nearby Ford truck parked in the middle of Fountain Street bleeding from his left biceps and underarm. Police recovered a handgun from the truck. Mr. McSwiggen told police that while traveling on Route 28 another vehicle had cut in front of him. Mr. McSwiggen followed the vehicle off the highway to Fountain Street. He exited his vehicle, as did Mr. Stipetich, and the altercation escalated.

The father told police that he had come out of the Stipetich home, and as the conflict became physical he stepped between the men. Mr. McSwiggen then pushed the elder Mr. Stipetich to the ground and gunfire ensued.

According to the complaint, video from a dashboard camera in Mr. McSwiggen's truck shows a red Ford Taurus, owned by the victim, passing Mr. McSwiggen on Route 28 on the left side. Mr. McSwiggen honked his horn and followed the Taurus off the highway onto Jackson Street and then Fountain Street

The victim is then seen exiting the vehicle and walking across the street toward his house. Mr. McSwiggen followed, the complaint said. The men argued, and Mr. Stipetich's father is seen stepping between them.

"The three men then leave the frame of the video and a gunshot is heard," according to the complaint. The victim then walks back into the frame and lifts up his shirt, appearing to check his wound.

The video then shows Mr. McSwiggen pointing his gun at the victim's father. The victim then pulls out his own gun from his waistband and shoots Mr. McSwiggen.

(c)2022 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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