Man charged with homicide in slaying of police officer

Feb 6, 2023, 9:02 PM | Updated: Feb 7, 2023, 12:02 pm

MCKEESPORT, Pa. (AP) — A man is facing homicide and other charges in the shooting and killing of one police officer, and the wounding of a second officer after they responded to a domestic disturbance call in western Pennsylvania.

Johnathan Jermia Morris — 31, of McKeesport — is charged in Allegheny County with criminal homicide, aggravated assault and attempted murder, and assault of a law enforcement officer in the shooting Monday afternoon in McKeesport, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Pittsburgh.

Officers were called to a home shortly after noon Monday over a dispute involving a man that police said was having a “mental health crisis.” He refused to talk to them and walked away from the home, and officers were warned by a family member that he might be armed.

When police encountered him nearby, he “suddenly produced a handgun and shot the two McKeesport officers,” said Christopher Kearns, the county’s police superintendent. Thirty-two-year-old Sean Sluganski, who had worked for McKeesport police for two years, died at a hospital. A wounded officer was treated and discharged.

After the shooting, Morris walked around a corner and fired at the third officer, who returned fire. The suspect was later listed in stable condition at a Pittsburgh-area trauma center.

Authorities said in a criminal complaint that two witnesses said Morris flagged them down, told them police were trying to kill him and asked them to record video. They said they saw a police cruiser pull up and another officer approach on foot, and then saw Morris pull a handgun and fire at the cruiser and the officer.

Morris, wounded in the leg by return fire, ran to a parking lot and told two people he had been shot and needed help, authorities said. A witness putting a tourniquet on his leg reported seeing Morris pull a handgun and point it at an approaching officer, after which the final exchange of gunfire occurred, authorities said.

Court documents don’t list a defense attorney for Morris; the county public defender’s office said it wasn’t immediately representing him and a message could not be left at a number listed for his address.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Man charged with homicide in slaying of police officer