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Paralyzed Clairton Officer Disappointed By Verdict

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Paul Martino Paul Martino
Paul joined KDKA-TV in 1984 as a general assignment reporter and later...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A rally was held Friday afternoon to show support for an injured Clairton Police officer after two men accused in a shooting, which left him paralyzed, were acquitted.

On Thursday, a jury acquitted Marcus Andrejco and Emilio Rivera, of McKees Rocks, in the shooting of Officer James Kuzak.

Andrejco was then released from prison Thursday night.

However, Rivera remains in custody after he was convicted on charges including robbery and burglary in connection to home invasion that led to the shooting.

Friday’s rally to support Kuzak was held downtown at noon at the Allegheny County Courthouse.

“We’re here to say, ‘Please don’t give up. We’re here for you. Thank you for protecting us,’” Joanne Witkkowski, a crime prevention advocate, said. “We’ll do everything we can to try to raise awareness, raise funds, whatever it takes. Thank you.”

At the rally, Kuzak was moved to tears. He is taking aim at suspect Emilio Rivera who was found guilty for carrying out the home invasion, but not guilty of shooting Kuzak.

“To know that that man, Emilio Rivera, sits there and knows who shot me – whether it be him or another person – that’s something he’s going to have to deal with as well as me,” he said.

Off camera, top Allegheny County Police brass say they’re devastated by the verdict because they put a lot of time and effort into the case. They also say as far as they’re concerned, the investigation is over because they believe the got the guys who did it.

The district attorney released a statement on Thursday, which commended Kuzak on his courage since the shooting. He also said he will be asking for the maximum sentence for for Rivera.

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