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Man with pellet gun prompts shutdown of Downtown area
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
An employee of a Downtown building who was using a pellet gun with a scope to scare pigeons prompted a massive police response that led to the shutdown of several blocks this afternoon.
An area around Stanwix Street, Fort Duquesne Boulevard and Penn Avenue was closed to vehicles and pedestrians after at least two people in neighboring buildings saw the man with a gun in a building that faces Fort Duquesne Boulevard.
The situation, which began before 1 p.m., ended at 3 p.m. when police reached a foreman at the building who told them about the employee.
Initial reports were that witnesses told police they saw the man pointing the gun toward Penn Avenue and Fort Duquesne Boulevard.
A woman in Fifth Avenue Place reported seeing a middle aged white man with a beard holding a rifle.
Dozens of motorcycle and special response officers responded to the area.
The Fort Pitt Tunnels inbound were shut down temporarily.
The Port Authority was forced to reroute buses around the area.
People in some buildings were told to stay inside while those in others were evacuated.
Students who attend Pittsburgh High School for the Creative & Performing Arts (CAPA High) remained in their Fort Duquesne Boulevard school this afternoon until the situation was resolved.
The All-City Senior Orchestra rehearsal scheduled for 4 p.m. at CAPA High has been canceled.
Students who attend all other Pittsburgh Public Schools have been dismissed since Port Authority buses and school buses that normally travel through Downtown will be re-routed.
Before the all-clear was given and roads were reopened, police searched buildings floor-by-floor looking for the gunman and stationed snipers in surrounding buildings.
he didn't do anything technically wrong, he'll likely be charged with something minor simply because they shut down a huge part of the downtown pittsburgh area. So they did "catch" they guy but it was clearly overreaction, which I suppose is better than failure to act.
Police spokeswoman Tammy Ewin said it was unlikely the man would be arrested. The only charge likely to stem from the incident could be a citation if it were determined he fired the gun illegally inside the city limits, Ms. Ewin said.
Chief Dominic J. Costa, who was Downtown along with Mayor Bob O'Connor and other top local officials, said merely carrying a pellet rifle Downtown might not be against the law. However, he added, it flew in the face of common sense.
From what you guys from PA mentioned on another thread about fines, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised this "big game hunter" is given a big bill for all the law enforcement that was required. As mentioned, at least they responded and shut everything down. They should offer this guy 2 options pay a very large fine or a free airline ticket to Bagdad.