Apollo’s Officer Leonard Miller honored 35 years later……….

Law Enforcement Officer Steve Aulerich, LBPD  recited a police officer's prayer for Leonard C. Miller

Law Enforcement Officer Steve Aulerich, LBPD recited a police officer’s prayer for Leonard C. Miller


© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 3:03 am

Apollo, Pa. – They came to honor Officer Miller, an Apollo Police officer who was killed in the line of duty at the age of 21 on January 3, 1980.

State, county, local officials, retired and current police officers including residents of local communities came out to the Apollo-Ridge High School to celebrate the life of Officer Miller. A young man who had graduated from that same school in 1977 and moved on to become an advocate for youth in his community while serving as a Junior Volunteer firefighter and a certified EMT with Oklahoma Medical Services.

Officer Miller worked part-time for the Vandergrift Police Department while furthering his education and graduating from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Police academy with HONORS in 1979. Officer Miller was recommended for full-time employment with Apollo Borough under the federal CETA program.

Tragedy struck on January 3, 1980 as Officer Miller was working his third day on the job as a full-time police officer when he was lured into chasing a speeding vehicle. It’s well known that Officer Miller became part of the “Kill for Thrill” murders that occurred in late December 1979. Law Enforcement Officer Leonard Miller was shot twice and was fatally wounded. EMT’s and paramedics could not save his life.

Master of Ceremonies Armstrong County DA Scott Andreassi

Master of Ceremonies Armstrong County DA Scott Andreassi


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On Thursday, January 15, Armstrong County District Attorney Scott Andreassi, former mayor of Apollo Dr. William Kerr, Retired Apollo Police Chief James Clawson, current Apollo Police Sergeant Jarred Kier, and Adelphoi Village Director Ms. Amy Overly touched on the many good qualities Officer Miller possessed as a young man. High school students were also in attendance.

Other dignitaries in attendance were from the Pennsylvania State Police, Lenape Law Enforcement, Retired Police Chiefs and Detectives including current Mayor Jeff Held of Apollo. Also in attendance was Armstrong County Sheriff Bill Rupert and Armstrong County Coroner Brian Myers. An officer’s prayer was recited by Law Enforcement Officer Steve Aulerich of the Lower Burrell Police Department.

As the ceremonies proceeded, a video depicting the life of Officer Miller was shown to the vast audience of well over 100 police officers from surrounding communities as well as local residents. It was a celebration of Leonard C. Miller’s life and his commitment to Law Enforcement, youth and community.

Many memorials have been established to remember the life of Leonard C. Miller and his legacy of public service. They include the following: Leonard C. Miller Scholarship, awarded annually to a high school student aspiring to the field of law enforcement, the Apollo Bridge and memorial, and the Leonard C. Miller Home of Adelphoi Village.

Apollo Mayor Jeff Held and Apollo Law Enforcement Officers

Apollo Mayor Jeff Held and Apollo Law Enforcement Officers


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Fatal accident on Keystone Lake in Armstrong County

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Atwood, Pa. – Armstrong County Coroner Brian K. Myers reported a single fatal accident occurred after an Avonmore man fell through the ice while fishing on Keystone Lake.

James J. Whitlinger, 56 of Dunmire Rd. Avonmore, PA (Kiski Twp. Armstrong Co.) was ice fishing when he was augering holes and fell through the ice. The subject was reported to be missing by other fisherman when they saw the holes and his gear, but no one around. This incident occurred approximately ½ mile south of the Atwood boat launch on Keystone Lake, Plumcreek Twp. The cause of death was asphyxiation due to drowning and the manner of death was accidental. There will be no autopsy performed. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Brian K. Myers.

The coroner’s office was assisted at the scene by Elderton VFD, Rural Valley VFD, Dayton VFD, PA Fish Commission, Kittanning Dive Team, PSP – Kittanning, Salvation Army, Region 13 Hose Team and Citizens Ambulance.

 

Armed home invasion suspect threatens to kill occupants

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 9:43 pm

New Kensington, Pa. – Multiple police units from New Kensington, Arnold, Lower Burrell and Upper Burrell searched streets and alleys around the 1200 block of Leishman Avenue after an armed home invasion just before 7 pm Friday evening.

New Kensington Detective Sergeant Dino DiGiacobbe said a black male kicked in the side door of a residence threatening to kill the occupants. The actor ransacked the residence of electronics and fled the scene. Police units immediately responded to Leishman Avenue after the invasion and 911 call. The actor is described as a black male wearing a black ski mask, yellow and black jacket, low hanging pants with brown boxers and red shoes. A brown bag was also taken from the residence.

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A suspect fitting the that description was stopped by Law Enforcement Officer Kevin Hess and while Hess was performing the safety pat-down, the actor fled dropping the firearm and losing his red shoes. One shoe was found on a sidewalk and the other shoe was found in the street. A loaded semi-automatic handgun was found in the intersection of North St. and Leishman Avenue.

Police were not able to locate the suspect and the investigation continues. If you have any information on this armed home invasion, you are asked to call New Kensington Police at (724) 339-7533 or dial 911. Detective DiGiacobbe thanked assisting police officers for their help in searching for the suspect.

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Burrell High School evacuated after bomb threat

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 4:24 pm

Lower Burrell, Pa. – ( UPDATE:)  Lower Burrell Police Chief Tim Weitzel said todays bomb search of Lower Burrell High School produced negative results and the emergency plan put in place was followed exactly as planned.  Chief Weitzel said three explosive dogs were brought in as co-ordinated  with Region 13 Logistic Chief William Hobaugh.  The incident occurred after a writing was found on a bathroom wall.   

Chief Weitzel said the dogs and police secured the building and called the students back over to the high school to resume classes.  Students were evacuated to the middle school across the street around 9:00 am.  Measures will be taken to further enhance student and faculty safety as the investigation continues into this incident.  If you have any information about this incident, you are urged to call Lower Burrell Police at (724) 339-4287.

Parents please visit the link below to view: Emergency Evacuation Presentation – Burrell School District presented by Chief Weitzel

http://youtu.be/wtIcphy4ViQ 

 

 ( Original Story )High school students in Lower Burrell have been evacuated to the middle school. Lower Burrell police are on scene and canines have been brought in to search the building.

Update: Students returned to school about 11:30 am.

 

Center span set to connect both ends of bridge in Oakmont

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Oakmont, Pa – Construction crews in Oakmont are preparing to lift the final span of the new Oakmont bridge and bolt it into place by late afternoon early evening.

Workers are poised on both ends up the bridge in anticipation of hydraulic strands lifting the bridge from near the river’s surface. According to crews at the construction site the process of lifting the span will be about 8 inches at a time. The objective for today is to get the span bolted in place with at least 25 bolts per flange on either side of the bridge.

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

As of 3:30 pm, the span was near its final position to begin the installation process for bolting the structure in place. Once source at the scene said the Oakmont side of the bridge span was moved about 8″ towards Oakmont on teflon bearing/plates to allow the Harmar side of the bridge to be bolted. Once this procedure is finished, the Oakmont side of the span would be pushed towards the Harmar side of the span for completion of connection. Crews braved a windy cold condition up on the spans as the process to make a complete installation continues. Several onlookers on the Harmar side of the new bridge braved cold, sometimes sunny conditions watching construction crews at work.

According to one Brayman Construction source, construction crews will remain at the bridge to make a solid connection of at least 25 bolts per flange on both sides of the span before calling it a night.

 

Big drug bust in Arnold nets heroin and marijuana

Law Enforcement Officer Wes Biricocchi carries drug evidence from the scene.

Law Enforcement Officer Wes Biricocchi carries drug evidence from the scene.


© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 11:40 am

Arnold, Pa. – An early morning search warrant was conducted on 1625 Third Avenue in Arnold at 7:15 am by the Arnold Police Department in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Attorney General Office and the Westmoreland County Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Drug Task Force.

Drugs found in the operation was 20 grams of raw heroin which would equal approximately 40 bricks on the street with the value of approximately $14,000. Also Found was a 1/4 pound (4 oz.) of marijuana with a street value of $1000.

There were four persons in the residence along with two children ages one and three years old. As of 11:45 am, the four adults are lodged in New Kensington’s police lockup awaiting arraignment by District Justice Frank Pallone.

Charged in the bust are:

Khalil Singletary, 19 years and a resident of Pittsburgh. Singletary faces charges of possession with intent to deliver heroin, possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Miesha Ingram, 18 years and a resident of Pittsburgh. Ingram faces charges of possession with intent to deliver heroin, possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Taneesha Thomas, 22 years and a resident of Arnold. Thomas faces charges of possession with intent to deliver heroin, possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia and reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child.

Desshaun Jones, 23 years and a resident of Arnold. Jones faces charges of possession with intent to deliver heroin, possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia and reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child.

AKVNEWS will continue to follow this story and update as more details become available.

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Bank robbery suspect in custody in New Kensington

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 1:22

New Kensington, Pa. – (UPDATE:)  New Kensington Police Chief Tom Klawinski released the following additional information about todays bank robbery of the Citizen’s Bank in downtown New Kensington.  Suspect Shane Lindsey from Franklin Pa.(Currently at AK Pavillion) was arrested after  New Kensington Detective Bob Deringer went into Eazor’s Restaurant to view surveillance video.  Upon viewing the video he observed a male fitting the description enter Eazors and immediately go into the bathroom.  He then exited the bathroom and sat down.  Det Deringer called other officers to the scene and went into the bathroom and recovered money and a red hat from the garbage can. Lindsey confessed to the robbery.

(Original Story)  Quick work by multiple police units resulted in a bank robbery suspect being apprehended shortly after noon on Wednesday. New Kensington Police Chief Tom Klawinski confirmed to AKVNEWS.COM the Citizen’s Bank robbery occurred at approximately 11:55 am on 5th Avenue in downtown New Kensington.

Chief Klawinski said the robber passed a note to a bank employee but no weapon was shown. At the New Kensington Lockup, City Police have a white male in custody who was described as about 5’8″ tall, skinny, with a bald head. AKVNEWS spoke with a witness at the scene who gave the same description as the suspect who was brought into custody at lockup. The amount of cash taken in the hold-up is not known.

Lower Burrell, Upper Burrell, and Arnold PD assisted New Kensington Police in the search of downtown streets for the suspect.

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 1:22.

 

Alle-Kiski Valley firefighters on scene in New Kensington

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 9:44 am

New Kensington, Pa. – Another house catches fire in the Valley as firefighters from New Kensington, Arnold, Lower Burrell and Eureka Fire Rescue work to bring what appears to be a basement fire under control.

At the scene in the 200 block of Ferry Street, fire crews battled smoke and fire at a basement door trying to gain entrance to the structure. Black smoke started to billow from the front door/front porch area however Assistant Chief Ed Saliba Jr. immediately started positive ventilation to clear the structure so firefighters could get inside. Upper story windows were broken out as firefighters put ladders on the structure and entered the second story of the house. All the residents were reported to have gotten out of the residence safely.

One pet was rescued from the residence and was taken to a New Kensington EMS unit for oxygen and according to a family member the cat was then taken to a veterinarian. The cause of the fire is under investigation. More details later from AKVNEWS.COM.

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Major fire in South Buffalo Township

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South Buffalo Township, Pa. – Firefighters on scene of a major structure fire in South Buffalo Township at Blume’s Solid Surface Products, Inc. The rear loading area is completely destroyed and appears that the fire possibly started with a delivery box truck which caught an awning on fire. The structure appears to be a total loss. The size of the building could be compared to a football field, at least as wide but perhaps not quite as long.

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

Multiple fire departments from all over the area are on scene. The fire quickly spread from the rear of the structure and quickly fully involved the whole business.

Fabricators of Solid Surface, Quartz, and Granite, Blume’s incorporated in 1988, is a full-service fabricator of solid surface, quartz, and granite counter tops.

Tankers from all over the area are lining the roadway into Blume’s and is closed to thru traffic. Blume’s is located just off Rt. 128 North of Freeport. Crews are breaking down and leaving the scene as of 11:00 pm.

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Apollo Law Enforcement Officer to be honored January 15

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(Supplied Images)

Apollo, Pa. – Apollo Mayor Jeff Held recently announced Apollo Borough and Adelphoi Village will be honoring the life and legacy of Apollo Police Officer Leonard C. Miller who was killed in the line of duty on January 3, 1980 when he stopped a suspicious automobile on Route 66 just over the Westmoreland County line.

The vehicle was occupied by John Lesko and Michael Travaglia who unknowingly murdered three others in the hours leading up to being stopped by Officer Miller. This was later dubbed the “Kill For Thrill Weekend” by the press.

The newly constructed Route 66 bridge that crosses the Kiskiminetas River and connects Armstrong and Westmoreland Counties was dedicated in Leonard’s honor and named “The Leonard C. Miller Bridge” on January 3, 2005, the 25th anniversary of his death. A plaque adorns the sidewalk side of the cement barrier on the Armstrong end of the span.

Former Apollo Police Officer, Michael Sheetz, recently published a book on this subject entitled “Kill for Thrill: The Crime Spree That Rocked Western Pennsylvania”.

In honor of the 35th Anniversary of Officer Miller’s death, this ceremony will be held beginning at 6:00 pm on January 15, 2015 at the Apollo-Ridge High School Auditorium in Spring Church, PA with a brief social reception immediately following it. In addition to invitations to prominent figures, the general public is invited to attend.

The program will be presented by a select group of community leaders and law enforcement personnel that worked with Officer Miller prior to his death. Also included will be a brief video and music as performed by Apollo-Ridge students.

 

Crash on Allegheny Valley Expressway was DUI related

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer (Stock Image)

O’Hara Township, Pa. – Pennsylvania State Police investigating officer Tpr. Kaczmarczyk reported Sundays crash on SR. 28 in O’Hara Township was caused by a DUI driver.

The crash occurred about 5:40 pm in the Northbound lane when a 38-year-old female from Indianola rear-ended the operator of a 2008 Honda Civic. After impact, the 38-year-old driver of the 1994 Toyota Camry left the roadway onto the east berm of SR.28 and impacted a tree. The driver was partially ejected from the driver’s side of the vehicle and was transported to UPMC Presby.

After being rear-ended, the driver of the 2008 Honda CRV continued to travel north unable to regain control of the vehicle. The vehicle traveled into the center concrete median where it started to slide on its front passenger side tire. The CRV then rolled onto its roof and came to rest facing south in the left Southbound lane of the expressway.

Injuries to both drivers was moderate. Pennsylvania State Police was assisted at the scene by O’Hara Township Fire, Police and EMS. Harmar Twp. Fire, Police and EMS also assisted at the scene. Both vehicles were towed from the scene by Vioval towing. The investigation into this crash continues by PSP Kittanning.

 

Frazer Township Police nab fleeing suspects in counterfeit bill scheme

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 1:02

Frazer Township, Pa. – Quick work by Frazer Township Police results in 4 actors arrested after passing counterfeit $100 bills at various stores in the Pittsburgh Mills Mall. The suspects involved in the incident are identified as Raul Aguero, 27; Juan Quinones, 18, and Steven Orr Jr., 25, and one female juvenile accomplice all from the Bronx, New York.

Frazer Township Police Sergeant Brian Pazak said Pittsburgh Mills security contacted Frazer Police in regards to counterfeit money at one of the stores inside the mall. Security then gave a description of actors; 3 Hispanic males one Hispanic female juvenile.

According to the criminal complaint, at approximately 1:10 American Eagle Outfitters contacted Pittsburgh Mills Security and stated they believed they had a counterfeit $100 bill in their possession from customers. The gist of the scheme was to buy low dollar items with the counterfeit bills and get a large amount of real money in return. Pittsburgh Mills Security Officers responded to the store and identified the bill to be counterfeit by the use of a black light.

Mills Mall security contacted Frazer Law Enforcement Officer Randy Patton who subsequently obtained a description of the actors from American Eagle personnel. Officer Patton viewed the $100 bill and was able to notice the paper was peeling in the center leaving a hole in the bill. Utilizing a black light, Officer Patton was not able to notice the Red/Pink security strip in the bill.

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At approximately 1:40 pm, security officers were looking for the actors and were spotted near Auntie Ann’s store walking towards Macy’s store. The actors were detained by mall Security Police and in anticipation of Frazer’s arrival, the actors learned police were on the way and started to elude security.

Frazer Police arrived and were advised by Mall Security the actors had fled in a Black Dodge Charger. Frazer Law Enforcement Officer Albaugh observed the black charger exiting the mall parking lot at a high rate of speed. Officer Albaugh activated lights and siren attempting to stop the vehicle, but it failed to stop. A short time later, Officer Albaugh successfully stopped the vehicle on Pittsburgh Mills Circle in front of Sears.

The actors were detained and transported back to Frazer Police Department where they were searched and advised of their rights. Arriving for their shift, Law Enforcement Officer Scott and Olszewski began a 7 hour-long investigation contacting mall stores to try to identify additional counterfeit bills. A total of 20 one hundred-dollar bills were collected from various stores, and police said at least two stores made deposits that would be checked today. All three males were subsequently transported to Allegheny County Jail. The three adult males are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on January 26.

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