Summer rerun: Police again face danger at Uptown corner
Two Pittsburgh police officers experienced deja vu over the weekend as they drove past the Uptown street corner where one of the officers shot an armed man last year.
This time, though, Officers Joseph Lewis and Jerry Kabala were able to arrest two armed men — one carrying an AK-47 assault rifle — without any gunfire.
“Faced with the potential firepower of this weapon and an obvious hazard to themselves and bystanders, the officers showed great judgment and restraint in defusing the incident without having to resort to deadly force,” Zone 1 acting Cmdr. Mark Romutis said Monday.
The two suspected gunmen — Charles Buchanan, 21, and Edward Blackburn, 22, both of the Hill District — were released from the Allegheny County Jail pending hearings in City Court on July 11.
Lewis and Kabala were on plainclothes patrol early Saturday when they came upon a fight at Stevenson Street and Fifth Avenue. When they heard Buchanan threaten to shoot Blackburn, they got out of their car and identified themselves as police, according to a report.
Buchanan ran away, carrying the assault rifle by its shoulder strap, police said. Lewis chased the suspect down Stevenson onto Forbes Avenue, where Buchanan dropped the gun before being arrested, police reported.
The arrest occurred at almost the exact spot where in November Lewis shot Angelo Shawn Randolph, 27, of Oakland, who had allegedly pointed a 9 mm handgun at the two officers following a fight at Stevenson and Fifth. And the incident Saturday was videotaped by the same surveillance camera across the street at Mercy Hospital that recorded November’s shooting.
On Saturday at Stevenson and Fifth, Kabala saw Blackburn pull a .22-caliber revolver from his pocket and drop it on the ground before running off, the report states.
Blackburn was arrested on a charge of carrying a firearm without a license. Buchanan was charged with reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct.
Randolph, who had previously been convicted of threatening to kill police officers, is awaiting trial for the November incident.