CLAIRTON (KDKA) — Officials with the Clairton Police Department say the officer who was wounded while responding to a home invasion earlier this week remains in critical condition.
Officer James Kuzak was shot just before 11 p.m. on Monday while responding to the call on Miller Avenue.
“There is some incorrect comments out there about the condition of Officer Kuzak. I just wanted to let everybody know that he is still in critical condition,” said Chief Robert Hoffman, of the Clairton Police Department. “He is talking, there is eye movement. Last night, I talked to him, he is in pretty good spirits, but there is still obviously some big concerns as far as his spine goes.”
Kuzak, a part-time officer in Clairton, was shot three times. Still in critical condition at UPMC Mercy, he also faces the possibility of paralysis.
“He talked a little bit about the incident and he was just basically thankful that I was there and he was just thanking everybody for everything that we’ve done for him so far,” said Chief Hoffman. “He’s a hero, and we’ve told him he’s a hero.”
Myles Hutchinson, 21, of McKeesport, has been arrested in the case and charged with attempted homicide. But Hutchinson says he was not near the house at the time of the incident, claiming he was selling drugs in another part of town.
Police are also looking for a second suspect.
“This is personal, yes, it’s definitely personal, but this individual is still out there and not going obviously to shoot another police officer, but the community is still at risk,” added Chief Hoffman.
Officers from surrounding communities have been helping with the workload so Clairton officers can visit the hospital.
Meanwhile, a candlelight prayer vigil for Officer Kuzak has been planned for Friday at 7 p.m. at Clairton Park.