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A time of thanksgiving

November 26, 2008 - Mark Leberfinger

Three Altoona police officers have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Officers Dwayne Eichenlaub, Joseph Merrill and Jack Kuhn were the officers who state police investigators say were shot at early Saturday during a vehicle stop Saturday at 14th Street and 17th Avenue. They returned fire with suspect John Adam Ray wounded several times.

The criminal complaint filed by state police details the moments leading up to Ray fleeing the scene and opening fire on Eichenlaub, Merrill and Kuhn, who were not injured.

You can read the criminal complaint here in our Crime Center.

Ray gave a name and date of birth that came back with no record found. He started making “furtive movements,” placing his hands in his hoodie jacket or waistband and placing his hands between the seat and the door, the document stated. Ray was ordered out of the vehicle.

Merrill tried to search Ray, but the suspect took off. Ray opened fire, state police said.

Eichenlaub, Merrill and Kuhn all returned fire and pursued the suspect. Ray eventually stopped but refused orders to drop the gun. He fell to the ground and dropped the weapon after he was shot again.

Ray was taken into custody and taken to Altoona Regional Trauma Center.

Things to be thankful for:

  • Eichenlaub, Merrill and Kuhn made it through the incident. They weren’t injured.
  • They stopped the threat by shooting Ray, a reputed Megan’s Law offender.
  • Ray remains in custody.

A preliminary hearing was postponed Wednesday in Central Court as Ray was still in the hospital.


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