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Slain East Washington Police Officer Shot Twice By Gunman

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(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

Harold Hayes Harold Hayes
Harold Hayes joined KDKA-TV in August of 1979 as a general assignment...
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WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) — Gunfire erupted during a traffic stop, killing one police officer and injuring another.

The man police say is responsible for the double shooting is also dead.

It started as a traffic violation in East Washington, then moved to Interstate 70 where a check of 58-year-old Eli Franklin Myers’ Dodge van revealed violations that would require a tow – not bloodshed.

“Officer Dryer had written the suspect a couple traffic citations – one for an unregistered vehicle and one for not having any insurance,” State Police Lt. Christopher Neal said.

Investigators say Myers, a former cop, got out of the car and fired into the groin of East Washington Officer John David Dryer and then fired a shot into the hand of Officer Robert Caldwell, who arrived as backup.

“Caldwell then observed Myers stand over Dryer and an additional shot was exchanged,” Washington County District Attorney Steve Toprani said. “Dryer succumbed to a fatal shot to his head.”

From there, Myers retreated to his home in Webster, Westmoreland County. He fired at least one shot, but no one was hit. Authorities shot gas canisters inside the house to get him out.

“Myers remained in the home for several hours and periodically fired shots at the responding police,” Toprani said. “At approximately 9:40 [a.m.], Myers attempted to exit the home while armed. State police used lethal force. No police officers, thankfully, were injured during this exchange.”

Toprani says investigators are still looking into the circumstances of Myers’ shooting and whether he fired any shots when he left the house.

“We’re determining that at this point,” Toprani said. “Forensic services on scene – they have quite a lot to process.”

Investigators say they are still baffled as to how Myers could have been involved in all of this since he was a former West Newton police officer.

Meantime, a wake for Dryer will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday; 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the William G. Neal Funeral Home at 925 Allison Avenue, Washington, Pa.

Funeral services for will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Immaculate Conception Church. He will be buried in West Middletown Cemetery.

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