Trooper Killed In Pennsylvania


Cpl. Joseph Pokorny, a State Trooper in Pennsylvania was shot and killed yesterday during a traffic stop:

A state trooper who stopped a car early yesterday was fatally shot in the chest after what police said was a violent struggle. Cpl. Joseph Pokorny, who was assigned to the Moon Township State Police barracks, was shot shortly after 2 a.m. near the Carnegie exit of Interstate 279, about five miles southwest of the city, officials said.

Pokorny, 45, who had been a trooper for more than 22 years, had called in information on a black 2001 Mercury sedan minutes earlier, and police were reviewing tapes of the call to determine why the trooper had pulled it over.

It also appears his gun is missing. They have brought in a few people for questioning and some of those people have left in shackles:

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, investigators released two new names of people they are looking for in connection to the fatal shooting of Pennsylvania state police Cpl. Joseph Pokorny.

Police are looking for at least five suspects that are believed to be in the Pittsburgh area.

They are identified as Jack Woods, 23, Andrew Palmer, 21, Byron Rice, 26, Jabbar Odell James, 28, and Phillip Peterson.

Police have already charged one woman with hindering the apprehension of suspects. It is not clear just how many people have been questioned in this case.

SWAT teams took to the streets early Tuesday morning to aid in the search. Members are not saying what areas they will be concentrating on. Local county and state agencies are also going to take part in the search.

Police spent part of Monday night searching several Pittsburgh neighborhoods, including Brookline and the South Side. Officers brought in dogs and helicopters to help.

[…]In addition to searching people’s cars in Brookline, investigators also combed through Pokorny’s car for any potential clues. It was left outside this Extended Stay America Hotel in Carnegie where Pokorny was gunned down.

This article seems to give the most detailed information up to date:

The final traffic stop of state police Cpl. Joseph Pokorny’s career ended outside a Carnegie hotel yesterday with a violent confrontation unfolding so rapidly that the 22-year veteran had no time to call for help once he realized his life was in danger.

Authorities said the 2 a.m. encounter, details of which remained murky last night, quickly turned into a desperate struggle that ended with the corporal fatally shot in the chest and lying in a snowbank near the Parkway West. The vehicle sped away and was recovered yesterday evening on the South Side, near the Hot Metal Bridge.

Some of Cpl. Pokorny’s belongings lay strewn near the parking lot of the Extended StayAmerica hotel. His gun reportedly was missing.

Police quickly launched a massive manhunt for up to four suspects believed to have fled. By nightfall, a man and woman had been taken into custody in the 2800 block of Sarah Street, South Side, and police with photographs of another suspect set up a dragnet in Brookline, peering into vehicles traveling down busy Brookline Boulevard.

Authorities believe they have linked a semiautomatic handgun found at the scene of the homicide to the man apprehended on the South Side, but no one had been charged in Cpl. Pokorny’s slaying as of last night.

The woman, identified as Charise Cheatom, 23, of the Sarah Street address, was charged with hindering apprehension and false reporting. Her attorney, Angela Carsia, last night said police alleged that she did not initially disclose to them that the man believed linked to the gun was in her house.

[…]The corporal, described as an aggressive and respected trooper, worked as the overnight patrol supervisor out of the Pittsburgh barracks in Moon. At 2:08 a.m., he alerted dispatch that he was following a Mercury Sable, but authorities yesterday could not say why Cpl. Pokorny intended to pull the vehicle over or where he was when he made the dispatch.

Col. Miller said there were indications that Cpl. Pokorny asked for backup during his initial radio call. However, he raised the possibility that the situation changed so swiftly that the corporal did not have time to wait for help or make additional dispatches.

Eight minutes later, Carnegie police Sgt. Mark Lint happened upon Cpl. Pokorny’s cruiser while on routine patrol in the 600 block of North Bell Avenue outside the front entrance of the hotel.

Carnegie Police Chief Jeff Harbin said Sgt. Lint was driving along the road when he saw the corporal’s police car, its headlights on, overhead red and blue lights activated and driver’s side door open.

Sgt. Lint found Cpl. Pokorny about 25 feet away in a snowbank and radioed for medics, Chief Harbin said. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 2:26 a.m.

Cpl. Pokorny’s vehicle was equipped with a dashboard camera that typically would be activated when the overhead lights were turned on. However, it was unclear whether the camera was working.

“The scene itself leads us to believe there was a struggle,” Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said.

[…]Shortly after noon, police released a man and a woman who had been seated in a patrol car, their hands bound with flexible cuffs, but then took the man back into custody a short time later. The woman, who lived in the apartment building surrounded by police, declined comment.

State troopers from the Investigations Unit at Troop B headquarters in Washington, Pa., arrived with two men whose hands also were bound with flexible cuffs. The troopers briefly took the two men out of their unmarked cars. But police officials would not identify them or say why they were there.

At midday, police made contact with another resident of the townhouse building who apparently had nothing to do with Cpl. Pokorny’s slaying but was wanted on a warrant in an unrelated robbery. After discovering that police had surrounded the building, that man surrendered and walked out of the house accompanied by two small children.

The man police were seeking did not come out for another hour, and only after stalling a state police negotiator, Cpl. Norman Hilf, who’d made contact with him by cellular telephone. The man repeatedly told police he was coming out, only to say he was first getting dressed, then brushing his teeth.

Police waited until the man finally emerged to take him in to county police headquarters for questioning.

Police said they found blood inside the building and also found a trail of blood on Larkins Way, a dead-end alley one block south of Sarah Street. But they would not say where they believed the blood came from, or if they were sure that it was related to the slaying.

At 3:15 p.m., police fired seven shots of tear gas into the building and began to search it for guns or other evidence related to the slaying. They found no other people inside.

Some thoughts about the trooper from those who remember him well:

Cpl. Joseph Pokorny was many things — a fearless policeman, an avid hunter, a private person who would give a friend the shirt off his back — but most of all, he was a devoted father.

“He cared for his kids more than anything in the world,” said his brother, Frank Pokorny, wiping tears from his eyes Monday outside his family’s home in Beaver County.

[…]”He was a dedicated trooper and devoted father to his two children,” said Robinson District Judge Carla Swearingen, one of the small but trusted circle of people Pokorny called friends.

Pokorny opted to work a steady midnight shift so he could be home during the day with his son, Joseph, 17, known as Jake, and daughter, Alexandre, 15, known as Ali.

“If he gave you his word, he stood by it. His biggest priority was his children. Everybody that knew him liked him,” said Swearingen.

[…]Joseph Pokorny received a letter of commendation for bravery after an incident on July 8 when state police began chasing a man suspected of drunken driving and pulling a gun on a trooper.

When troopers tried to end the high-speed chase by putting spike strips on the Beaver Valley Expressway, the motorist turned around and began driving the wrong way.

When Pokorny saw the motorist trying to ram the side of a police car, he steered his cruiser into the path of the speeding car, hitting it head-on in a fiery collision.

“He saved one of our guys by taking on the other guy head-on,” said state police Cpl. Kenneth Yuhas, one of several troopers offering condolences and support yesterday to Pokorny’s parents, Florence and Joseph R. Pokorny, in Center Township.

“He actually put his life on the line by ramming the vehicle and stopping (it),” said Col. Jeffrey Miller, the head of the state police. “He was a very aggressive and conscientious corporal, always out there backing up the troops.”

[…]Pokorny’s smile is what impressed state police Cpl. David Bova. “The thing I’ll miss the most is his laugh and his big smile,” Bova said.

“He was a great kid, a great adult who was fun-loving in high school but took his job seriously,” said Anthony Mendicino, principal of Center Area High School, where Pokorny graduated in 1978.

[…]Pokorny, who also is survived by a sister, Laura Hill, of Center, became a patrol supervisor in Moon in July 2004, but refused to be tied to a desk reading reports.

“He was, like, caffeinated. He was high-speed. He would go out and get the job done. He was not a slug,” said Trooper Robin Mungo, a state police spokeswoman.

“He always wanted to be out on the road with the guys,” Yuhas said.

But Frank Pokorny said his brother was “a very private” man.

“He certainly was not a mixer. He had a very small circle of friends. He was very guarded until you earned his trust and respect. Then he’d give you the shirt off his back,” Frank Pokorny said.

“He was like a brother to me,” said Ronald Evans, who often went hunting with the Pokorny brothers. “He was a great guy, the best. You knew you could count on him.”

Crystal Hoffman, who lives near Joseph Pokorny’s home in the Sharon Hill Manor neighborhood of Moon, said she regularly returned Pokorny’s golden retriever when it broke free of its tether and ended up at her home.

“I didn’t know Joe well, but he seemed to have a very a good sense of humor. He seemed like the kind of guy who really enjoyed life,” Hoffman said.

The Pokorny brothers were avid hunters who made a number of trips together to hunt elk out West.

They last saw each other last week when Joseph Pokorny visited his brother’s home in Hanover, Beaver County.

“He went out in the back woods to go hunting. He was an incredible woodsman. When he came back, he said he saw a buck but didn’t shoot it. He smiled and said, ‘I didn’t want to.'”

Frank Pokorny, known as “Fearless Frank” for his special teams play for the Steelers in 1985 and ’86, made no effort to hide his pain and tears.

“He was my older brother. I loved and miss everything about him.”

Sounds like a great man who was robbed of his life by scum. This also points out something I have railed against for many years, the danger of one man cars. Thankfully I work a station, one of the few on my Department, that work 2 man cars. Two sets of eyes and two sets of guns can mean the difference between you going home to your family or being carried by six. Why Departments feel the need to pinch pennies by advocating one man cars is beyond me.

Ol’ Froth has commented that there has been a memorial fund established. You can donate to the Cpl. Joe Pokorny Memorial Fund at the following address:

FOP 47, Cpl. Joe Pokorny Memorial Fund
Citizens Bank, 1132 Thorn Run Road, Moon Township, Pa., 15108.

Please donate what you can for his family.

Other’s Blogging:

A Knights Blog
Froth Slosh B’Gosh

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

As it is Christmas day and I am a mother of a beautiful 3 year old I can’t help nut think of the family of Joe. I knew him well eneugh to say when Joe, with his blue eyes, and coffee in hand walked into the room there was always someone smiling or laughing with him. I can say that there has been so many men that I have seen retire from the state police and they come and go and some never to be seen or herd from again. Joe will always be remembered he is a hero in so many levels. He died in such a way that it is dreadful and heart wrenching, but he is a true hero. People do not respect the police eneugh and don’t think that when they go out on the road they are a target for crime pending. This unfortunate incident just made me believe that the fallen trooper, was a outstanding man, a great dad, a hero, a legend. He worked so many positions with the state police and to be killed in the way he was, taking the drugs out of the community, just made his life more important. He will always be remembered, loved, and honored, he was and always will be a hero. my heart and thoughts are with the family.

The Pokorny’s are a great asset to the Beaver County area. Everyone should pay tremendous respect to the entire Pokorny family. We all are suffering with you in your loss.

Thanks for giving the community such a quality individual.

He will be missed by all.

I feel I have known a true American hero!

More about Joe here.