Tuesday will mark one year since McKeesport Police Officer Sean Sluganski was shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic dispute.
Channel 11 spoke exclusively with Officer Chuck Thomas, who was injured in the shooting that claimed the life of his partner.
A whole year, 365 days have passed, yet the moments of Feb. 6, 2023, still fill Officer Thomas’s memory.
“I got stuck in that moment for this entire year, and it still feels just like yesterday,” Thomas said.
Bullets flew that day hitting Thomas. As he called out on the radio, another round of gunfire killed his partner.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better partner that day, Sean he didn’t hesitate one minute,” Thomas said.
While the holes have healed physically, emotionally Thomas is still trying to cope.
“I’m human just like anybody else, just because I wear a badge or a uniform, grief, we all feel it one way or another,” Thomas said.
The loss of a partner who left behind so much, a family, brothers in blue, a fiancee and his 1-year-old daughter.
“That was the pride and joy of his life baby Haven. Unfortunately, she will know about her dad, because nobody is ever going to let her forget. But to experience Sean was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Thomas said.
Standing on the North Shore at the Fallen Officer Memorial making one year since those five seconds that changed his life, he’s thankful.
“If it wasn’t for Sean; my name would be on this wall and I’m eternally grateful for his sacrifice. Your mind sometimes doesn’t tell you that you deserve his sacrifice or deserve the sacrifice people sacrifice for you,” Thomas said.
He asked why and still does, yet no one person has that answer.
“I’ll never be able to move on, never be able to,” Thomas said.
So rather he’s working to move forward; just a one-word difference, but a whole new perspective.
“Sean will always be my hero and I can’t ever repay him for what he’s done for me, but what I can do is make sure he’s never forgotten in the law enforcement community,” Thomas said.
As for his career as a police officer, that’s a decision for another day, but a hope for the future.
Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.
ON THIS DAY: Feb. 5, 2010, ‘Snowmageddon’ paralyzed Mid-Atlantic FDA: Recalled Philips BiPAP, CPAP machines tied to more than 560 deaths Cyber attack targets Pennsylvania Courts’ website VIDEO:Witness recalls moment when shots rang out during deadly shooting at baby shower in Pittsburgh DOWNLOAD the Channel 11 News app for breaking news alerts