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Police officer slain in Pa.; parolee held

Officer Michael Crawshaw, 32, was awaiting backup. Officer Michael Crawshaw, 32, was awaiting backup.
Associated Press / December 8, 2009

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PENN HILLS, Pa. - A parolee wearing an electronic ankle bracelet fatally shot a man at his home over a $500 drug debt, then walked outside and opened fire on a patrol car, killing an officer awaiting backup, authorities said.

Penn Hills police Officer Michael Crawshaw, 32, was the first to respond to a 911 call made around 8:20 p.m. Sunday. Crawshaw was advised to wait in his patrol car because of past problems reported at the home and because dispatchers heard shots over the phone, Penn Hills Chief Howard Burton said.

Ronald Robinson, 32, walked out of the home and opened fire as he approached Crawshaw’s car, Allegheny County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said yesterday.

Robinson killed the two men and threw two guns in woods as he ran from the crime scene, according to a criminal complaint obtained at his arraignment. Police on yesterday found a 7.62 mm Norenko MAK 90 assault rifle and a 9mm Ruger handgun in the woods.

The officer’s weapon had been taken out of his holster, showing that he might have been able to draw his .45-caliber Glock pistol and fire a shot, Moffatt said. Police were still investigating.

Robinson fired at least nine shots at the officer, Moffatt said. Three or four hit Crawshaw, including a single fatal shot to the head, said Dr. Karl Williams, county medical examiner. An autopsy is planned.

Robinson, of Pittsburgh, was charged with burglary and two counts of homicide. It was not clear whether he had a lawyer, and court documents were not available because Robinson hadn’t been arraigned.