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Slain Pittsburgh officers to lie in repose at government building

  • Story Highlights
  • Eric Kelly, Stephen Mayhle and Paul Sciullo III were shot to death on Saturday
  • They were responding to 911 call about an argument at a Pittsburgh home
  • Suspect Richard Poplawski is in custody; his whereabouts unclear on Monday
  • Mayor describes plans for procession for fallen officers, lying in repose
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(CNN) -- Three police officers -- shot to death after responding to a domestic argument call -- will lie in repose at Pittsburgh's city-county building later this week, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl told reporters Monday.

Three roses were left at the front door of Pittsburgh police headquarters in memory of the slain officers.

A statue at Pittsburgh's police memorial is decorated with a bouquet after the deaths of three officers on Saturday.

The public will be allowed to view the officers -- Stephen Mayhle, Paul Sciullo III and Eric Kelly -- from 4 p.m. Wednesday until 10 a.m. Thursday, Ravenstahl said.

City offices will close at 2 p.m. Wednesday and remain closed Thursday, he said, adding that city offices were already closing for the Good Friday holiday.

Following the viewing, the officers' bodies will be taken in a procession to an event center, where a public ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Ravenstahl said. Individual funerals will be held for the officers later.

A fund for the officers' families has been established at a local police credit union, Ravenstahl said. Video Watch mayor tell of plans to honor slain officers »

The three officers were shot to death Saturday after arriving at a Pittsburgh home in response to a 911 call about an argument. Court papers said the argument was triggered by a urinating dog.

Richard Poplawski, 22, is in custody in connection with the shootings. He was hospitalized over the weekend after he was shot in the leg during a four-hour police standoff; his whereabouts were unclear Monday. Police said Saturday that he would be charged with three counts of homicide, aggravated assault and other charges.

Details of the incident were included in the police complaint seeking an arrest warrant for Poplawski. The complaint says Margaret Poplawski called 911 about 7 a.m. Saturday to report that her son was "giving her a hard time."

She told police she awoke to discover that "the dog had urinated on the floor," and awakened her son "to confront him about it."

The two had an argument, and Margaret Poplawski told her son she was calling police to remove him from her home, according to the complaint. When Mayhle and Sciullo arrived, she opened the door and let them in.

"Mrs. Poplawski reported that as the officers entered approximately 10 feet into the residence, she heard gunshots, turned and saw her son about six feet away with a long rifle in his hands, at which point she fled downstairs after asking him, 'What the hell have you done?'" the complaint said.

Margaret Poplawski reported she stayed in the basement during the standoff, and heard her son yell, "Yeah, I've been shot," and "I'm standing down, come in and help me," according to the complaint.

Kelly was a 14-year veteran of the department, Police Chief Nathan Harper has said, while the other two had worked there for two years each. Video Watch officers respond at the scene »

The chief said Sciullo was the first to approach the home, and was shot in the head as he entered the doorway. When Mayhle tried to help his fellow officer, he also was shot in the head. Kelly arrived at the scene and was shot before he could aid the other two officers, Harper said.

Harper said the suspect fired from a bedroom window, shooting at an armored vehicle carrying a SWAT team -- preventing those officers and medics from reaching the wounded policemen.

Two other officers, Timothy McManaway and Brian Jones, were injured. McManaway was shot in the hand and Jones, who was trying to secure the rear of the house, broke his leg trying to get over a fence, Harper said.

Autopsies showed that Kelly died of gunshot wounds to the trunk and lower extremities, Sciullo died from gunshot wounds to the head and trunk, and Mayhle was shot in the head, the complaint said.

"We have never had to lose three officers in the line of duty on one call," Harper, the police chief, said. "They have paid the ultimate sacrifice."

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Authorities believe Poplawski, wearing a bullet-proof vest, aimed more than 100 rounds at police, using an AK-47, Harper said Saturday.

Police had responded to calls from the home two or three times previously, Harper said.

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