Police in New Kensington, Pennsylvania are on the hunt for a suspect after he shot and killed a 25-year-old officer during a traffic stop.
Officer Brian Shaw was fatally shot while pursuing the suspect on foot Friday night. He was identified by authorities hours later, and his body was transported to a local funeral home the next day. Shaw was a rookie officer, having been with the department for less than one year.
Multiple agencies in Pennsylvania have offered rewards for information leading to the arrest of the suspect, who fled the scene on foot.
A visitation is planned Monday and Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and a Christian funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Mount St. Peter Church in New Kensington.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Shaw Approached the Suspect & he Suddenly Fled
At around 8 p.m. on November 17, Shaw made a traffic stop on a vehicle in the 1200 block of Leishman Avenue. Some time during the stop, the unidentified driver of the vehicle fled on foot. As Shaw chased after, the suspect brandished a gun and shot him in the chest. Shaw was given CPR on scene by emergency personnel, but he later died from his injuries.
Detectives from Westmoreland County are leading the investigation, and an autopsy of Shaw’s body has been complete.
2. A $40,000 Reward Has Been Offered for Information Leading to the Arrest of the Suspect
After shooting Shaw, the suspect fled the scene and remains at large. Officers initially issued a “be on the lookout” alert for the Jeep which the suspect drove during the traffic stop, but it was cancelled after officers located it a few hours later.
At a November 18 press conference, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Steven Limani said that officers are aware of why the suspect was pulled over, but didn’t go any further. Law enforcement officers have since launched a statewide manhunt to find the suspect.
“There’s a lot of heavy hearts,” Limani said at the press conference. “They’re going through a tough process, but yet staying very focused on their job which is to continue this investigation, find the person who killed Officer Shaw and bring him to justice. New Kensington officers are doing exactly what happens and what they are trained to do. There’s a task at hand and that task is finding the person who killed their fellow officer. They are committed to that task, they’re focused on that task and I think when that task is finally over they’ll be able to step aside and go through the grieving process themselves.”
Several agencies have offered rewards for information leading to an arrest of the suspect. As of Saturday afternoon, that reward combined to be $40,000.
Police Chief Jim Klein urged anyone with tips to come forward to assist in the investigation.
“I’m asking anybody, anybody with any information, as (small) as they think it might be, please, please give us a call,” Police Chief Jim Klein said at a press conference. “We need to find the person that did this.”
Those with information have been asked to call New Kensington police at 724-339-7534 or dial 911.
3. Community Members & Colleagues Joined in a Procession to a Funeral Home
Though he was with the department for only a few months, many of Shaw’s colleagues are remembering the happiness he brought every day, and his desire to be the best officer possible. A door at the police department was seen draped in a black ribbon following his death.
A procession of Shaw’s body took place Saturday, along Route 66 and Route 366 to the Rusiewicz Funeral Home, and numerous members of the community, colleagues, other law enforcement personnel and family members joined in remembering the life Shaw lived.
Many law enforcement officers from across the country have written tributes to Shaw and his family, and the United States Secret Service also tweeted its condolences.
As detectives continue to investigate the incident, people have been dropping off food and refreshments at the police station for those working around the clock on the case. They’re also donating to the local fire department.
New Kensington is known locally as “New Ken” and is located in the the western part of the state along the Allegheny River. It’s about 20 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and had a population of 13,116 people at the 2010 census.
4. Shaw’s Lifelong Goal Was to Become a Police Officer
Janelle Hall of WTAE News spoke to Heather Nealer, a woman whose son recently approached Shaw’s patrol car with a pair of toy handcuffs. Nealer told Hall that Shaw showed her son his police-issued handcuffs, which made his day.
“I cannot thank you enough for this,” Shaw wrote in a message to Nealer after she sent him a photo of the interaction — as seen above. “Your son was absolutely adorable and I am glad he wasn’t afraid to come talk to me. He made my night.”
Nealer referred to Shaw as being “just a genuinely amazing guy who actually wanted to make a change in the world,” Hall reported.
The summary section of Shaw’s LinkedIn account told his lifelong goal: “I want to be a successful law enforcement officer.”
Shaw graduated from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in 2015, earning his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice/law enforcement administration. In 2014, he graduated from police training academy in Allegheny County, and he worked as an officer in several communities. His LinkedIn account also says he worked part-time as a sales associate at American Eagle Outfitters for three years (2012-15) and then at Family Video.
He worked as a New Kensington patrolman for just five months. Before that, he worked as a part-time officer for three years with the Cheswick Police Department, the Frazer Police Department and the Springdale Township Police Department.
5. Shaw Was a Kicker on His College’s Football Team
Athletics were another passion of Shaws. He was a kicker on Burrell High School’ football team and earned first-team all-conference recognition during his junior and senior seasons. He also played soccer and ran track and field, qualifying for the state track meet in the 4×400-meter relay as a sophomore and the 200-meter dash as a senior.
But football was the sport he ended up turning his attention to, and he played in college. Shaw was a kicking specialist on the NCAA Division II Slippery Rock football team, appearing in eight games as a freshman while sharing kickoff duties. He saw his playing time increase over the years and appeared in 11 games, recording 13 touchbacks in 2012.
Slippery Roack head coach Shawn Lutz told KDKA News that Shaw was part of the program’s 2011 and 2013 championship teams. Lutz described Shaw as always having an optimistic attitude.
“He said he wanted to be a police officer, he was a hard working guy, such a positive young man,” Lutz told the news outlet. “He would do anything for the team. Whether we had wins or losses he was so positive about the opportunity to play for us. Every time I think about Brian, I think of such a positive guy who would be successful at anything he did,
Lutz said that after Shaw graduated, he went back to the school to go to come games and often recommended area players who he thought were good recruits. The school held a moment of silence for Shaw at a basketball game on campus.