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Pa. state trooper shot, killed

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CRANBERRY, Pa. (AP) -- A state trooper responding to a domestic call at a rural home today was fatally shot as he got out of his cruiser, and a search was on for the gunman.

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Trooper Paul G. Richey, a 16-year veteran assigned to the Franklin barracks, and another trooper arrived at the home at about 11:30 a.m. when a shot was fired from inside, killing Richey.

"Trooper Richey sacrificed his life rather than swerve from the path of duty," state Police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski said in a statement. "We will not forget his service or his

sacrifice."

Richey, 40, of Franklin, is survived by a wife and two young children.

The shooting happened in a rural, heavily wooded area outside Oil City, about 80 miles north of Pittsburgh. Dozens of state police cruisers, many unmarked, quickly converged on the area and remained there hours later blocking roads and searching cars.

Police did not immediately release the name of a suspect. However, officers were showing motorists the driver's license picture of Michael Smith, who lives on the road where the shooting occurred.

A high school and elementary school were on lockdown, though children were being taken home two buses at a time or allowed to leave if their parents picked them up.

Clarion University's Venango campus was also put on lockdown. On its Web site, the university cautioned students to avoid the area or "secure yourself in a safe place and wait for police."

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