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Pa. officer, suspect wounded in gun battle

The suspect is charged with multiple felonies, including assault of a police officer and carrying a firearm without a license

By Andrew McGill
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HOMEWOOD, Pa. — An 18-year-old Homewood man has been charged with shooting a police officer in the leg during a firefight Sunday morning in East Liberty.

Dante A. Bonner was shot multiple times by officers after firing three rounds at Pittsburgh police Officer Christopher Kertis, who took hits to his left leg, police said. Mr. Bonner was taken to UPMC Presbyterian shortly before 4 a.m. in critical condition.

Officials described Officer Kertis' condition as stable.

Mr. Bonner was arrested a month ago and charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest. He was released on $10,000 bail at the time.

The night began with Officer Kertis and his partner, Officer Charles Thomas, breaking up a disturbance involving Mr. Bonner and his friends at the Shell gas station on Frankstown Avenue. The two officers told the men to move along, and they did, driving off in a Dodge Avenger.

But things looked suspicious — the car briefly paused and popped open its passenger door — and police followed after the Avenger sped down Fifth Avenue.

The car then pulled over in the parking lot near the East Busway entrance, and Mr. Bonner jumped out and ran away, police said. In pursuit on foot, Officer Kertis tripped over a parking barrier.

That's when Mr. Bonner turned around and leveled a 9 mm handgun, firing at the prone officer, according to his criminal complaint. Wounded, Officer Kertis got to his feet, and he and Officer Thomas returned fire, dropping Mr. Bonner.

Mr. Bonner is charged with multiple felonies, including assault of a police officer and carrying a firearm without a license. His gun was reported stolen from a car in Somerset in December, police said.

Following police protocol, both Officer Kertis, with two years on the force, and Officer Thomas, with four, will be on paid administrative leave while the police bureau's homicide unit investigates the incident. A police statement said the investigation will be overseen by the Allegheny County district attorney's office.

Reprinted with permission from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

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