Police: Gunman who shot police tried to ignite fuels

CANONSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A man who fatally shot the expectant mother of his child and a Pennsylvania police officer before killing himself apparently had tried to set off explosions in the house they were in and in a vehicle parked out front, police said Saturday.

Michael Cwiklinski, 47, opened fire with a rifle from a second-floor window on two Canonsburg police officers who were first to arrive in response to a 3:20 a.m. domestic violence call Thursday. Both officers were stuck; one of them died, Canonsburg police said.

Patrolman Scott Bashioum, 52, an officer for seven years and a married father of four, was struck twice. He returned fire, “emptying his duty magazine, striking multiple rounds in and through the window,” Chief Alexander Coghill said.

Other officers got him into a patrol vehicle and took him to Canonsburg General Hospital, where he died. Patrolman James Saieva Jr. was struck by one round while still inside his patrol vehicle. He underwent emergency surgery and is “in excellent spirits” and expected to be released soon, Coghill said.

Cwiklinski and Dalia Sabae, 28, who was three months pregnant, were later found dead. Police said she died of multiple gunshot wounds, and he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Police said the gunman also fired at the parked sport utility vehicle, which he had loaded with gasoline, propane and acetylene tanks. At least two rounds struck the vehicle, but it didn’t ignite.

A police robot sent into the home found two more propane tanks along with a lit acetylene torch inside the front door. Officials said the robot helped dissipate some of the gas,

preventing an explosion.

State police Cpl. Kiprian Yarosh, asked why there was no ignition of fuel in  either location, replied.   “To be honest with you, luck.”

“I don’t think it happened the way he planned it,” said Yarosh, who is leading the investigation. “Had the vehicle been struck and ignited, yes, it would have been tragic.”

Sabae had filed an application for a protection-from-abuse court order last month in Washington County, saying Cwiklinski was drunk when he took her belongings and then called police when she broke down a door to retrieve them last month. “As he was leaving, he was saying that I and our baby that I  am pregnant with have to die,” she said in the application.

Bashioum’s funeral is set for noon Wednesday at Church of the Covenant in Washington. A procession through Canonsburg also is being planned