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Two Monaca police officers and a local agent involved in an undercover drug sting-related shooting in Ross Township Tuesday afternoon escaped injury, but another agent suffered gunshot wounds and the suspect was killed.
Officials have not released the names of anyone involved in the incident. But BeaverCountian.com has confirmed from sources the two full-time Monaca officers, Det. Ronald Hogue and canine officer Sgt. Greg Nichol, were working as part of the state Attorney General’s Office drug investigation task force.
Monaca Police Chief David Piuri declined comment on the incident because the officers were working in their capacity as agents of the Attorney General’s Office at the time of the shooting.
An Attorney General’s Office narcotics agent was wounded, and a 31-year-old suspect was killed during the undercover “buy-bust” operation at about 1 p.m. outside the Big Lots at Northland Plaza on McKnight Road in Ross Township.
BeaverCountian.com confirmed a second Attorney General’s Office undercover agent who lives in Beaver County also was involved in the operation and similarly escaped injury. This publication is not naming the agent because of his undercover status.
“The (wounded) OAG officer involved in today’s shooting was shot twice and is in stable condition with no life-threatening injuries. This incident occurred during an operation by our Bureau of Narcotics Investigations,” according to a statement from the Attorney General’s Office sent to BeaverCountian.com
“The Attorney General plans to travel to Allegheny County to visit with the officer and his family.”
Allegheny County Police Lt. Ken Ruckel referred all of BeaverCountian.com’s questions to Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough, who sent the following statement:
“On July 23, at approximately 1:00 p.m., narcotics officers assigned to a PA Attorney’s General’s Office Task Force were engaged in an undercover buy-bust operation in the parking lot of the McKnight -Northland Plaza on McKnight Road. In the course of the operation, at 1:07 p.m., the target of the investigation and narcotics officers exchanged gunfire. The target of the investigation sustained fatal gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:15 p.m.
A Narcotics Agent from the PA Attorney General’s Office also sustained multiple gunshot wounds in the exchange. That officer was transported to a regional trauma center where he is recovering in stable condition. The officer is reportedly conscious and alert and speaking with family members.
The 31-year-old suspect’s identity is not being released at this time. Per customary Allegheny County protocol, the Homicide Unit of the Allegheny County Police was requested to assume the investigation of the fatal officer-involved shooting. Our investigative findings will be shared with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office for their determinations.
Anyone who heard or saw anything in the area of the McKnight-Northland Plaza today is asked to call the Allegheny County Police Tip Line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS (1-833-255-8477); callers can remain anonymous. You can also reach the County Police through its social media sites. Callers can remain anonymous. We can also be reached via our social media outlets.”
BeaverCountian.com investigative reporter John Paul contributed to this report.