PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Testimony began in the trial for two men accused of shooting a police officer, which left him partially paralyzed.
Emilio Rivera and Marcus Andrejco are charged with shooting Clairton Police Officer Jim Kuzak during a home invasion in April of 2011.
Kuzak was responding to a 911 call, when he was shot. He now uses a wheelchair, but is undergoing intense physical therapy.
Authorities believe Kuzak was shot three times by Andrejco or Rivera as they ran through the back door of a home on Miller Street.
Kuzak was taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital for treatment. One of his doctors testified that a bullet entered the left side of his chest through the lung and lodged in his spinal bone leaving a hole close to his aorta.
Kuzak was bleeding and underwent emergency surgery. The jury saw x-rays that show where the bullet and fragments remain lodged in his spine.
The doctor said Kuzak lost two liters of blood. The average person has five liters, so losing that much blood is life-threatening.
Kuzak spent four weeks as an in-patient learning how to function again.
Dr. John Morton who treats spinal cord injuries testified that Kuzak is paralyzed from the belly button down, but has some movement.
“He can’t stand up or walk with braces,” he said. “I think he is where he is going to be, unfortunately.”
Officer Kuzak is expected to take the stand.
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