By Ralph Iannotti

LOWER BURRELL (KDKA) — The night after a Lower Burrell police officer was shot and killed, a memorial of flowers and candles is continuing to grow outside the police station where he worked for nearly 18 years.

Family members and law enforcement aren’t the only ones grieving the death of Derek Kotecki. The community at large has been impacted.

One message on a sign outside a business read: “Stay strong officers. You are the best.”

“It’s crazy, I mean, I have no other way to put it, but it’s crazy,” John Ross said.

“We don’t know how to react to it,” he continued. “It’s the first time it’s happened in this community and you never know if it’s going to happen again.”

Alicia Heymers was working across the street during the shooting. She heard the gunfire. She thought police were shooting at a bear.

Then she saw 33-year-old Charlie Post, the accused gunman, trying to jump a fence and heard officers open fire.

“If he had a death wish, that was on him,” Heymers said. “He had no reason to kill that officer.”

More Local News
More Westmoreland County News

Watch & Listen LIVE