Allegheny County

Pittsburgh police officer hurt in shootout that killed man during traffic stop

PITTSBURGH — A shootout left a Pittsburgh police officer hurt and the suspected shooter dead after a traffic stop Thursday night in the city’s North Side, police said.

The officer who was shot was one of four who conducted the traffic stop about 7 p.m. on East Ohio Street, near the intersection with Madison Avenue, according to authorities. He was struck in the leg and is expected to be OK.

The gunfire was exchanged between 25-year-old Elijah Brewer, who was the passenger in the vehicle, and the four officers, investigators said.

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Neighbors who live one street over told Channel 11 News they heard popping sounds so intense they thought fireworks were going off at one of Pittsburgh’s stadiums.

“It was like pow, pow, pow. It was like at least 5 or 6 shots,” one person described.

“I was working. I just heard a barrage of gunfire and I went outside and there was a whole bunch of cops racing up and down the street,” explained manager of Brother’s Keeper Anthony Jefferson.

Both the officer and Brewer were taken to hospitals. The officer was last listed in stable condition. Brewer was pronounced dead at 7:41 p.m., police said.

Public safety director Wendell Hissrich said the injured officer was talking to the chief of police and Mayor Bill Peduto late Thursday.

Allegheny County Police were called in to investigate what happened. Officers said at 6:55 p.m., detectives with the city police stopped a 2002 Lexus ES 300 in the 200 block of East Ohio Street. The detectives were in an unmarked GMC Yukon with its lights activated. Detectives said they smelled burnt marijuana upon approaching the car. Both the driver and the passenger, Elijah Brewer, were ordered to exit the car and they both did. At 7 p.m. the gunfight ensued. The driver ran off on foot and was detained a few minutes later. Brewer was shot and later died.

Police said they found a 9 mm handgun in Brewer’s right hand. Investigators believe he fired at least two shots toward the police. All four detectives in the Yukon returned fire. It’s not clear how many times Brewer was shot. At a Friday press conference, investigators said there was probable cause for the traffic stop.

Brewer was on parole in relation to a 2014 guilty plea where aggravated assault and gun charges were involved.

Investigators placed numerous evidence markers around the vehicle that was at the center of the shootout, and several roads in the area were closed well into the night while authorities were at the scene.

None of the officers involved in the shooting were wearing body cameras, according to investigators, who are looking for witnesses and surveillance video.

Allegheny County police are handling the investigation. Once their investigation is complete, their findings will be turned over to and reviewed by the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Allegheny County Police Tipline at 1-833-255-8477.

There was a report of an armed robbery at a nearby Boost Mobile store just minutes before the shootout. County police said there is no information or evidence tying Brewer or the driver of the car to that robbery.

Below is a map of the approximate location where the shooting happened: