The same man who confessed to infamously killing Dr. Gulam Moonda on the Ohio Turnpike in 2005 is now accused of shooting a state trooper in an Aliquippa quicky mart early Friday morning.
The trooper, Jonnie W. Schooley III, was flown by helicopter to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh where he has since undergone surgeries to repair damage to veins. Although it is said he lost a significant amount of blood, State police reported that his injuries are non-life threatening. Schooley previously worked as an Aliquippa police officer before becoming a state trooper.
“We are extremely fortunate this morning that our trooper is OK and the prospects for a full recovery look good at this time … Our troopers every day lay their lives on the line to serve their communities. We’ve been trying to help out in Aliquippa”, Capt. William A. Maitland, criminal investigation section commander of Troop D, said.
Two state troopers on patrol noticed a disturbance outside the Franklin Mini-Mart on Franklin Avenue just after midnight. There, they encountered an armed Damian Bradford, 41, of Pittsburgh, who struggled with the officers and shot one.
The other trooper and store patrons were able to subdue Bradford and take him into custody — he was subsequently charged with attempted homicide. Video of the shooting’s aftermath shows bystanders treating the trooper before city police arrived. State police expressed gratitude in a press release for the bystanders, as well as for EMS responders.
Beaver County District Attorney David Lozier told BeaverCountian.com he believes that intervention by bystanders may have saved the trooper’s life.
“All of law enforcement in Beaver County are grateful for the assistance given to the police by citizens of Aliquippa during the struggle,” Lozier said. “They assisted with first aid and with subduing a violent suspect and they probably saved the trooper’s life. We are very thankful and hope for a full recovery by the trooper.”
The second trooper sought treatment at an area hospital for minor injuries.
The officer’s shooting is the latest in a string of incidents involving Aliquippa law enforcement. Earlier this month, someone sprayed the city’s police department, also on Franklin Avenue, with gunfire. State police have been assisting with patrols in the city due to extreme staffing shortages in its own police force.
Bradford received international attention, including television documentaries, following the May 13, 2005 murder of Dr. Gulam Moonda on the Ohio Turnpike near Cleveland.
Moonda’s wife Donna Moonda initially told authorities that she pulled over their Jaguar and a dark-colored van followed them, a man got out and robbed her husband, 69, an esteemed Mercer County urologist, and then shot him in the face.
After a months-long investigation, Mrs. Moonda and her lover, former Center Township resident Bradford, were arrested. They had met during a court-ordered stint at a Beaver County drug rehabilitation center after she was caught stealing painkillers from a Mercer County hospital where she worked as a nurse.
The two plotted the murder for Dr. Moonda’s money, with Donna Moonda’s share pegged at between $2 million and $3 million. A prenuptial agreement guaranteed her only $250,000 in the event of a divorce.
Bradford eventually agreed to testify against Donna Moonda in exchange for a lesser charge.
In July 2006, Bradford pleaded guilty to interstate stalking and using a firearm during a felony and was sentenced to serve 17 1/2 years in prison. He was scheduled for release on April, 6, 2021.
Donna Moonda received life in prison for her murder-for-hire conviction
Lori Boone contributed to this report.