CONNELLSVILLE (KDKA/AP) – Plans to honor a slain police officer who was also a Civil War veteran went awry when signs renaming a Fayette County bridge got his name wrong.
Connellsville police Officer McCray Robb was just 33 when a suspect grabbed Robb’s gun and shot him with it May 25, 1882.
A ceremony renaming the borough’s West Crawford Avenue Bridge in Robb’s honor was held Saturday.
But the signs printed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that were installed Monday incorrectly identified the officer as Robb McCray.
When the new sign was unveiled, Police Chief Jim Capitos told KDKA political editor Jon Delano that he knew something was wrong.
Capitos: “When we uncovered him, we realized we had the name turned around backwards.”
Delano: “What was your reaction?”
Capitos: “I don’t think I can repeat that. I was pretty shocked.”
Instead of McCray Robb, PennDOT posted it Robb McCray.
PennDOT spokeswoman Valerie Petersen says the signs were printed based on the bill sponsored by retiring Democrat state Sen. Richard Kasunic.
Chief Capitos hopes it can be corrected easily.
“Maybe we can look at it as a clerical error, sort of like a typo.”
Officer Robb died in 1882 when the circus came to town and thousands turned out, including two intoxicated brothers. One of the brothers assaulted a police officer, and when Robb stepped in, the other brother, says Capitos, “Bayard pulled a revolver and shot McCray Robb twice.”
A mob chased the brothers down the railroad tracks and nearly lynched them until rescued by other officers.
KDKA reached out to PennDOT officials in Harrisburg who say they believe they can correct this sign administratively without a statute and that should be done sometime in the near future.
Incoming PA Senator-elect Pat Stefano says, whatever PennDOT does, his first bill will correct the name.
“They should be able to do that without legislation, I don’t know. But either way the Act that was enacted in the last session still needs to be fixed. I want it officially correct in the books,” says Stefano.
Letting Officer McCray Robb rest in peace.
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