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Homewood Police Shooting Suspect Waives Right To Preliminary Hearing

By: Harold Hayes
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Harold Hayes Harold Hayes
Harold Hayes joined KDKA-TV in August of 1979 as a general assignment...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – James Hill, the man accused of shooting a Pittsburgh Police officer and wounding another during an altercation last April, waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday. However, he now faces an additional charge that was filed today.

Hill is accused of critically wounding Officer Morgan Jenkins in Homewood even after Hill sustained gunshot wounds in a shootout with police. Officer Michelle Auge was injured in the scuffle. Today, prosecutors added a charge of aggravated assault in connection with Auge’s injuries.

Officer Jenkins arrived at the Municipal Courts Building in a wheelchair in the event his testimony would have been required. But, he moved in and out of the building out of the sight of cameras.

Milton Raiford, Hill’s defense attorney, said he didn’t see that anything could have been gained from going ahead with the preliminary hearing to determine whether there’s enough evidence to go to trial.

“In my estimation as his lawyer I believe that that would have occurred, that he would have gotten held for court and I also don’t believe anything would have been gained by having the officer in this case and the officers in this case testify to something that turned out to be very horrific and painful for them,” Raiford said. “I don’t see how that could have helped my client. I don’t see how that could have helped them either.”

Pittsburgh Fraternal Order of Police President Michael LaPorte was among those police officers who came to the hearing to show their support for their colleagues.

“Our officers are here to support Officer Jenkins any way we can,” said LaPorte. “Especially, under the circumstances of making such a tremendous sacrifice in the pursuit of justice. Now, one of our own has fallen victim and we’re going to support him through the process as much as we can.”

LaPorte would not comment on Jenkins’ specific medical condition.

The fact that Hill was able to return fire even though he was shot multiple times raised questions among some officers about the adequacy of city police ammunition.

LaPorte said that evaluation is ongoing from his point of view. Police recently upgraded a firearms training simulator which had been in place since the 1990s.

RELATED LINKS:
Police Officer Critically Injured In Homewood Shooting (4/11/13)
Officer’s Family Still Hopeful For Recovery After Homewood Shooting (4/25/13)
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