ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (WKBN /WJW) – A Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) trooper was shot during a robbery just after midnight Friday at a store in Beaver County.
Police confirmed that the suspect in the shooting is Damian Bradford. Bradford was convicted in 2006 and served time in the murder-for-hire plot of Dr. Gulam H. Moonda, of Hermitage.
Bradford is facing two charges of aggravated assault, disarming a law enforcement officer, five counts of recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest, possession of a firearm prohibited, firearms not to be carried without a license, assault of a law enforcement officer and criminal attempt/criminal homicide.
A year and a half after he was released from federal prison, Bradford is under guard at a Pittsburgh hospital. State police in Beaver County say Bradford was arrested when two troopers interrupted a hold-up at the Franklin Mini-Mart on Franklin Avenue in Aliquippa.
“As soon as they entered the mini-mart, they encountered a male subject that was armed. Immediately, the male subject fired upon the troopers,” said PSP Trooper Joshua Black.
Investigators say one of the troopers suffered a leg wound, but his partner and several customers in the store tackled Bradford. Commanders thanked medics on the scene and hospital staff for saving the injured officer.
“On top of that, the members of the community who stepped in and, without hesitation, assisted our troopers,” said PSP Captain William Maitland.
For now, investigators say the wounded trooper will recover.
“I want the involved troopers to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families,” said PSP Lt. Col. Jeremy Richards.
At this point, there’s no word on when Bradford will appear in court.
Bradford was previously charged with interstate stalking and possession of ammunition in an investigation into the murder of Dr. Moonda. He confessed to murdering the physician along the Ohio Turnpike near Cleveland in 2006.
Bradford was romantically involved with Dr. Moonda’s wife, Donna, who was given life imprisonment for the murder plot. Donna Moonda told Bradford, her boyfriend, that he could murder Dr. Moonda and they could split his money.
Bradford was to serve 17.5 years in prison and five years supervised probation for the crime, but he was released in late 2020. He is currently on supervised probation, according to court records.
Bradford gave evidence of Donna’s involvement in the murder, resulting in his lesser sentence.