PENN HILLS (KDKA) — A three-year criminal case involving an assault weapon ended on Tuesday with the defendant being convicted of first-degree murder with regard to the first victim and second-degree murder with regard to the second victim, a Penn Hills police officer.
Testimony during the trial of Ronald Robinson revealed that the assault weapon used in the shootings, an AK-47 that was found in the woods nearby, was purchased by him, bought on the street.
The serial numbers already obliterated when he bought it.
It was the weapon that killed Danyal Morton over drug money, and then killed Officer Michael Crawshaw as 12 to 13 bullets from the assault weapon sprayed his police cruiser. Two of the bullets hit Crawshaw.
In Penn Hills on Wednesday, some saw the President’s move to change the gun laws as timely.
“I think they should make things more strict,” said one resident. “The weapons like that, that were used, are not allowed, under any circumstances.”
“In the case like the one we have here from Penn Hills, we already have laws against filing off serial numbers and laws against illegal AK-47s,” said David Harris, a law professor at Pitt. “So, the legal system is just one tool.”
Harris, though, says the path toward a safer society will not be easy.
“How do we construct a system where there will be less access to firearms for people who shouldn’t have them, thus beefing up the background checks system is one way to do that,” said Harris. “Putting more mental health information into the background check system, that can help with that. It isn’t going to stop every homicide, every killing. The Penn Hills case teaches us that.”
Nowhere will they watch more closely what happens to gun laws and to gun violence than they will in Penn Hills following Officer Crawshaw’s death.