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Pittsburgh remembers three police officers 12 years after they were killed in Stanton Heights tragedy

PITTSBURGH — The City of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Police had a somber tone to Easter Sunday, as they took to social media to remember three police officers who were killed in the line of duty -- 12 years ago today.

City leaders usually take part in a memorial service each year to honor the officers, but COVD-19 combined with the holiday prompted just a brief acknowledgement of what happened on that day.

Background on the incident:

On the morning of April 4, 2009, a heavily armed Stanton Heights man ambushed Officers Paul Sciullo II and Stephen Mayhle, who were responding to a domestic violence call at his mother’s home, killing both of them.

Officer Eric Kelly, a Stanton Heights resident on his way home after finishing his shift, heard the distress call and responded to the scene, where he was shot and killed attempting to rescue Sciullo and Mayhle.

Loved ones, police officers and supporters of the three fallen officers gathered at Thursday’s memorial, during which blue carnations were laid on memorials for the men. Bouquets were given to the officers’ family members.

“It’s always amazing, but just the fact that it’s been 10 years, it’s overwhelming because you relive that day all over again. But, other than that, I’m gratefully appreciative that they continue to honor all three officers,” Jene Meyers, Kelly’s niece, said.

Sciullo, Mayhle and Kelly were the first police officers killed in Pittsburgh in almost 20 years, and it was the deadliest day for law enforcement officers in the city’s history.

Three other officers responding to the scene, which became an hourslong standoff, were injured.

Richard Poplawski was convicted of murdering the officers and sentenced to death in 2011.

Sciullo, Mayhle and Kelley have been honored in several ways. Plaques in their memory sit at the Zone 5 police station. A Bloomfield park is named after Sciullo, a native of the neighborhood; a baseball field in Brookline is dedicated to Mayhle; and a field in Stanton Heights bears Kelly’s name.