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Canonsburg Begins Healing Process As Probe Into Deadly Ambush Continues

CANONSBURG (KDKA) -- Classes resume Friday morning in the Canon-McMillan School District in Washington County following a deadly police ambush in Canonsburg. Schools were closed Thursday as a precaution.

More than 12 hours after the deadly shooting in a usually-quiet Canonsburg neighborhood, the immediate area around 120 Woodcrest Drive remained a crime scene, still cordoned off with yellow "Do Not Cross" police tape.

When police first showed up in the area, a state police commander said, "They were ambushed upon their arrival."

KDKA's Ralph Iannotti Reports:

Killed in the ambush, after responding to a 911 call from a neighbor, was 52-year-old Officer Scott Bashioum, a seven-year veteran of the Canonsburg Police Department and a father of four. He was also a volunteer fireman and an Air Force veteran who served in Iraq.

The wounded officer was identified as James Saieva. He was flown to Allegheny General Hospital, and last listed in stable condition.

As the healing process continues, hundreds of community members gathered Thursday evening for a prayer service dedicated to both officers. The Canonsburg-Houston Ministerial Association hosted the prayer vigil at the borough building.

"I pray to God for a speedy recovery for you, James. We are all rooting for you," Marcia Masi, of Canonsburg, said.

Masi knew Officer Saieva. She says their mothers are good friends.

"When I talked to her she was frantic. She was trying to get a flight in from Florida to be with her son," Masi said.

KDKA's Amy Wadas Reports:

While the community prayed, Mayor David Rhome reflected on the number of people that showed up to support the men in blue.

"Words can't speak enough for what we've seen tonight," Mayor Rhome said. "One of darkest days of my career."

"We've been getting well wishes throughout the country. Honor guard and other police departments. I can't even begin to name other police departments that assisted us," Canonsburg Police Chief Alex Coghill said during the vigil.

The gunman, who police said died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, was 47-year-old Michael Cwiklinski, investigators said. According to police, he shot and killed his Egyptian-born his 27-year-old wife, Dalia Sabae, who was pregnant.

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Neighbor Keith Jacob told reporters, "I could hear somebody say my partner's down, or something like that, and then all hell broke loose."

After police cleared the crime scene Thursday night, the shot-out windows of the couple's duplex were clearly visible, along with a busted garage door from police ramming it.

The bodies of Cwiklinski and his wife were found in the home.

Court papers showed Cwiklinski had a history of domestic violence. Just last month, he allegedly threatened to kill his wife and unborn child.

Meanwhile, Mayor Rhome said he will be meeting with Officer Bashioum's family Friday morning to discuss funeral plans. While plans are very preliminary right now, he expects services to take place mid-week next week and plans on having up to a thousand police officers from all over take part in services.

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