Three Pittsburgh police officers were ambushed and killed Saturday morning after answering a call described as a domestic argument between a mother and son with no weapons involved, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Within minutes, all three officers were fatally shot by the subject of the domestic call, later identified as Richard “Pop” Poplawski, 22. A discharged Marine, he adhered to a number of right-wing conspiracy theories and expressed fears of a “Zionist nation” revoking his right to own guns. Police said Poplawski knew his mother had called 911. He apparently lay in wait, armed with an AK-47 assault-style rifle, a .22-caliber rifle and a revolver and wearing a bulletproof vest.
Poplawski was hospitalized after a four-hour siege. A friend, Aaron Vire, 23, said Poplawski strongly opposed Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s candidacy. He’d had “very spirited debates” with Vire, who is black and an Obama supporter. “He wasn’t a racist. He was a cool person. He thought he was losing some of his rights,” said Vire. He said he knew Poplawski owned an AK-47 assault-type rifle, a .357 Magnum revolver, a .380-caliber handgun and a .45-caliber handgun.