WEBSTER, Pa. - A man with a gun got out of his car during a late-night traffic stop, shot and wounded two police officers and executed one of them with a shot to the head, State Police said yesterday.
Eli Franklin Myers III shot the two officers late Sunday night near Washington, about 25 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, then drove to his home and spent hours in a standoff with police before he was shot dead yesterday morning by a SWAT team.
Authorities said they still don't know what caused Myers, 58, to react so violently to the traffic stop, at which he was cited for an expired registration and driving without insurance. Adding to the puzzle was that Myers had served as a police officer in West Newton during the late 1970s, State Police Lt. Christopher Neal said.
Officer John David Dryer died in the encounter. Authorities said Dryer, 46, was a part-time officer for the East Washington department who was known for his commitment to the community. He was a local veterinarian and a former volunteer fireman.
The second shot officer, Robert V. Caldwell III, 46, was hospitalized and was expected to recover, authorities said.
Investigators were still gathering information, but they believe Dryer pulled Myers over, wrote two citations, called for a tow truck to take Myers' car away and apparently was shot when he went back to inform Myers that his vehicle was going to be towed.
Caldwell arrived as backup and apparently traded shots with Myers, who then fled and drove about 30 miles to the east, to his home in Webster.
People in Webster, a town on the banks of the Monongahela River, didn't seem to know much about Myers, who apparently moved to the area with his family in 1970, according to a funeral notice for his father, who died in 2009.
Authorities said they've checked into reports that Myers once owned a gun shop in Westmoreland County.
During the standoff, police fired multiple rounds of tear gas into Myers' home and tried to contact him and negotiate his surrender.
But, they said, Myers emerged from the back door of the house carrying a large handgun and was killed in a gunfight with the SWAT team.