Ambridge Interim Police Chief Mark J. Romutis has died from complications of COVID-19.
He was pronounced dead at approximately 6 p.m. this evening at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Romutis began developing symptoms of the novel coronavirus on March 20 and tested positive soon after. Ambridge Borough sent out a notice to his coworkers on March 26 notifying them an employee of the municipality had been infected with the virus.
Romutis seemed to have been recovering, telling others he was feeling well and preparing to return to work on Thursday, April 9, according to several people in the municipality. But 911 call logs maintained by BeaverCountian.com show an ambulance was dispatched to his address shortly after 10 a.m. on Friday for reports of a person having difficulty breathing.
Sources familiar with Romutis’ condition tell BeaverCountian.com he had been placed on a ventilator before his death.
It is unclear how he contracted COVID-19. No other Borough employees have tested positive for the virus.
District Attorney David Lozier told BeaverCountian.com he had the utmost respect for Romutis.
“Mark Romutis brought leadership, stability, and calm to the Ambridge Police Department following the incidents surrounding Chief Mann,” he said. “I had a great deal of respect for the way he handled himself and the way he worked so hard for the people of Ambridge.”
Lozier asked for the community to pray for police officers who are on the front lines during the community’s battle against COVID-19.
Council hired Romutis as interim chief on August 30, 2018, after a vote to place Chief James Mann on indefinite unpaid suspension until a resolution of criminal charges filed against Mann by the Pennsylvania State Police. Mann is still awaiting trial.
Romutis had previously served as Ambridge police chief from 2006 until 2011. He served as chief of police for Ellwood City Borough from January 2011 through May 2014. Romutis also served as a Beaver County Sheriff’s Deputy.
Romutis’ death comes just one day after Aliquippa Acting Police Chief Robert Sealock died from a non-coronavirus related medical emergency experienced while he was on duty.
County Commissioners Dan Camp, Jack Manning, and Tony Amadio issued a statement expressing their sympathies to the law enforcement community for the loss of Romutis and Sealock.
“We are saddened to hear the unexpected passing of Ambridge Borough’s Interim Police Chief Mark Romutis,” the Board said. “We extend our condolences to his family, friends, co-workers, and the Ambridge community in general. This is a difficult time for all Beaver County’s law enforcement agencies, and with the loss of two leaders in such a short period of time, we extend our sympathy and continued support to all of them as well.”
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