Home of fallen Pittsburgh police officer again targeted by vandals

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Home of fallen Pittsburgh police officer again targeted by vandals

The first time the family was disrespected was back in June.  Now, for the second time this summer, vandals have disgraced the family home of a fallen Pittsburgh police officer.

Two months ago, the plaques outside the Bloomfield home of officer Paul Sciullo’s parents were spray-painted. 

Then this past week, flags flanking the home memorial were stolen. 

But according to police, surveillance video may have captured the vandals this time.

Officer Paul Sciullo’s parents didn’t want to go on camera.  They did, however, say the recent incident crossed the line… and they want who ever is responsible to be caught.

“I cannot say enough what a beautiful family and how nice they are, wonderful, wonderful family,” said Iva DiPasquale, the Sciullo’s longtime neighbor.

The family says they’re heartsick that both the American and police flags on their front porch, alongside their son’s memorial plaques, were stolen. 

It’s now been 10 years since Officer Sciullo, along with officers Eric Kelly and Stephen Mayhle, were murdered during a shootout with Richard Poplawski outside his Stanton Heights home.

This latest act of vandalism has neighbors wanting to know how someone could do something this hurtful to the family.

“We cannot believe what’s happening, DiPasquale said to local media outlets. “Why to such a nice family, the things that are happening to them? With Paul, please Lord, give him rest in peace.”

Police are now asking for the public’s help to identify the people seen in the surveillance photos.

The family hopes whoever is responsible is caught.  Neighbors also hope the city puts up more cameras of their own.

“We don’t want this in our neighborhood, and they do not deserve this all the bad things that are happening to them,” DiPasquale said.

Whoever is caught will face charges including theft and criminal mischief. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Detectives at Zone 5 at 412-665-3605.

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Home of fallen Pittsburgh police officer again targeted by vandals

In a separate act of vandalism back in June, police put out a reward for the arrest of whoever was responsible for defacing the memorial of a father and a hero.

Action News reported the heartbreaking story of Officer Robert Wilson’s final moments in 2015. Officer Wilson had stopped at a local Philadelphia Game Stop to pick up a birthday present for his son who was about to turn 9.

As Wilson stood at the counter, brothers Carlton Hipps and Ramone Williams entered the store announcing that it was a robbery. Officer Wilson engaged in gun fire with the robbers making sure to move away from other patrons in an effort to spare them.

Action News reports that Officer Wilson suffered multiple gunshot wounds but continued to engage with the criminals, both of whom were armed and shooting back. Wilson then took a final shot to the head.

Wilson’s partner confronted the pair and shot Carlton Hipps in the leg. His brother, Ramone Williams, then attempted to blend in with the shoppers even going so far as to change his clothing and telling on-lookers to stay quiet. However, his scheme was quickly revealed and he was apprehended.

Officer Wilson was rushed to a Philadelphia hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. He was just 30 years old and left behind two children.

“It’s a tremendous loss in so many ways,” reflected Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. “Our focus now is on really trying to get the family through it – just a tough time for everyone.”

Not surprisingly, both Hipps and Williams were repeat offenders. Action News reports that Hipps had only just been released on parole after a robbery conviction weeks earlier. Williams also had a history of theft and aggravated assault.

Calrton Hipps and Ramone Williams originally faced the death penalty for the murder of Officer Williams. However, according to CBSPhilly, they were offered a plea deal in 2018 sentencing them both to life without parole.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner called the sentence “death by incarceration”, but it’s a sentence many weren’t happy about.

“It’s horrible. A total slap in the face,” said Officer Damien Stevenson, Wilson’s former partner.

 

In reviewing the surveillance footage after the deadly shootout in which more than 50 rounds were exchanged, investigators watched as Officer Wilson made deliberate efforts to redirect the gunfire away from patrons.

“After seeing the video of what happened in that store, he redefined what being a hero is all about,” Ramsey said.

As the ambulance departed Temple University Hospital carrying Officer Wilson’s body to the medical examiner, members of the slain officer’s department provided escort for their brother. A mural was later erected in the community so that Officer Wilson and his sacrifice would not be forgotten.

Action News reports that in late June, it was discovered that an individual defaced that mural with spray painted obscenities and other markings.

“It’s sickening and disgusting that some low-life would deface the mural of hero and fallen-officer, Robert Wilson III,” said FOP Lodge #5 President John McNesby. “We will never forget Rob’s bravery, courage and valor when he saved lives inside that GameStop store.”

The Fraternal Order of Police is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the cowardly vandal.

In May, we reported on a similar story out of Hamilton Township, New Jersey.

Police say they’ve since arrested two men in connection with a disgusting crime.

Officers in Hamilton Township received information on Sunday about a “disturbing video” of a man urinating on a granite memorial to Christian Clopp.  Clopp was a 9-year-old local Cub Scout who died of brain cancer in 2012.

The investigation led police to arrest Bryan Bellace, 23, of Egg Harbor City and Daniel Flippen, 23, of Hammonton. 

 

The video above has been blurred, but you can see the act as it’s filmed.  In it, a man urinates on the memorial for Christian Clopp, and the person filming also scans away to show a Bud Light can as well.

The audio has been stripped in the above video.  But in others you can hear laughter, as well as Bellace allegedly saying, “In memory.” The man videotaping the scene says, “Jesus Criminy.”

Bellace was charged with lewdness, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief and violating an local ordinance of having an open alcoholic beverage in a park. 

Police said Flippen filmed the video.  He was also was charged with having an open alcoholic beverage in a park. 

The memorial was built in the Mays Landing Lakers Youth Sports Facility playground area. 

Community members were outraged and reacted strongly on social media, with comments such as “disgrace,” “trash” and “karma” on the Hamilton Township Police Department’s Facebook page. 

Christian’s father is Mark Clopp.  He shared his own emotions about what happened on his Facebook page.

“Losing a child is an horrific experience that, to say the least is life changing. When all you have are memories and someone does that it is heartbreaking,'” he said.  His post also urged against anyone taking retaliatory action. 

He shared a post about local coaches Paul Burgan and Desmond Walker cleaning the memorial. 

“At the end of the day, the good outweighed and overwhelmed the bad,” Clopp said. “This is what Christian did during his life. He brought people together and he has accomplished that again.”

Mark Clopp put up a second post talking more about his perspective:

Okay, I have been contacted by all of our major news agencies for an on-camera interview in the past 24 hours. I have declined all. I don’t think a 10 second clip of my feelings are going to change what happened in any way. As a father and retired police officer, I think this incident can be turned into a positive by becoming a learning experience for all.

For starters, I hate vandalism of any kind. We work hard and pay a fortune in taxes and in return we all simply want to live in a nice town and have equal access to nice things which we have all paid for. Don’t tolerate graffiti or sit and watch anyone destroy public property without reporting it or saying something. The appearance of where we live affects property values and the overall morale of the community. Please teach your children this.

As for the two actors: I don’t know either one of you. I have no idea what exists in your life to make you so indifferent to how others feel but I hope this serves as a wake up call and you get the help you need. I admit, my initial reaction was to find you and beat you senseless in defense of my son’s honor and the distress you caused my family. I am better than that. I hope it doesn’t take the heartache my family has lived through to open your eyes. Something is wrong in your life and you need to fix it. You have done serious damage to your reputation; only you can fix it. How you respond to this dictates the direction your life will take.

I am equally disgusted that this act was done at a children’s playground. It has a personal attachment because of my son but when we deprive the mist innocent among us a nice, clean, safe place to play and be kids, I find that particularly disturbing. I would love to respond as a community by adding to the playground, perhaps adding to the play area or adding landscaping/ picnic tables to make it even nicer.

Those who went to clean the playground: You are the glue that holds this community together. Your actions were kind, thoughtful and selfless. You are the example of “loving thy neighbor.” Thank God we have role models like you!

I want to thank Hamilton Township Police for handling the matter swiftly and professionally. Those officers are my brothers and sisters with whom I worked with for many years. Although some were emotionally invested from knowing Christian, the matter was handled the same as if any other resident was the victim. The actors involved were treated fairly and that is important.

When Christian’s plaque was being made for the playground, I chose the words carefully. “ A child who made the world a better place through his courage, faith, smile, laughter and love of others.” “May your memory and inspiration live on forever.”

Once again, that 9 year old boy brought a community together.

Thank you for all of your support!


It’s reminiscent of a similar crime that happened in March in Massachusetts.  That’s where dozens of graves at a Jewish cemetery in Fall River were vandalized.  It lead to police opening up a hate crime investigation.

Police found swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti on the gravestones.  They were defaced using a black marker and some were pushed over, police said.

The first day, police estimated that 25 gravestones were vandalized.  That number more than doubled on the second day to 59.

The graves were marked with words such as “heil Hitler” and “Hitler was right.”

The Anti-Defamation League New England condemned the crime:

“The desecration of The Hebrew Cemetery of Fall River is an inexcusable act of anti-Semitic hatred in the place where we honor and remember the lives of our community members.”

Louis Gitlan, who has relatives buried at the cemetery, weighed in on the damage to local meda outlets. He pointed out that many of the people buried at the Fall River cemetery faced persecution during their lives.

“What did they go through to get to this place, and finally be free? Then realize that they can’t escape it,” he said.

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