Police: Hostage standoff ends peacefully in Pittsburgh
September 21st, 2012
01:59 PM ET

Police: Hostage standoff ends peacefully in Pittsburgh

[Updated at 1:59 p.m.] The man suspected of taking a hostage in Pittsburgh's Gateway Center high-rise Friday morning has surrendered peacefully, and his hostage was not harmed, Pittsburgh Police Chief Nathan Harper said.

[Updated at 1:20 p.m.]Police are negotiating with a "relatively calm" gunman believed to be holding at least one person hostage in a downtown Pittsburgh high-rise, the city's police chief said Friday.

Police have identified the man, a former military member with a criminal record, and they brought his mother to the scene, Chief Nathan Harper said.

The suspect walked into CW Breitsman Associates' office Friday morning and asked for a particular man, so police believe a male hostage was targeted, Harper said. CW Breitsman handles money for pension funds. The chief said the gunman never worked there, and it's unclear how he was related to the company.

The situation is contained to one room of a suite on the 16th floor of Gateway Center Building No. 3, Harper said. As of 10:55 a.m., no one had been hurt and no shots had been fired, he added.

Police received calls shortly after 8:15 a.m., reporting a man with a gun. Some witnesses reported he was carrying two duffel bags. Harper said the suspect also claimed to have a bomb.

Several people who work in the building told local television stations that police had evacuated them from the building. Harper said since the incident was contained to one room, evacuations were minimal, and people were still occupying other parts of the skyscraper.

Jim Garra, who works at AXA on the 16th floor, told WTAE that when he arrived at work around 8:10 a.m., security officers were milling about. When he took the elevator to his office, he found a commotion, including a woman he described as "hysterical, on the phone," describing an intruder in the building. Garra said he locked the door to his office until police came to evacuate it.

Public transportation has been shut down at Gateway Center, and police have blocked off nearby roads as well.

Post by: ,
Filed under: Crime • Pennsylvania
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. GhostCoyote

    So they guy has 2 duffel bags and claims to have a bomb (assuming both duffel bags are filled to the max with C4, thats a heck of a lot of explosives) and they're not evacuating the whole building? Granted, the likelihood of him having any explosives at all let alone that much is remote, but law enforcement isn't in the business of gambling with innocent lives. Sounds like a foolproof and genius plan to me! What could possibly go wrong?

    September 21, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Slammin'Sammy

      Reports here in Pittsburgh are that they did evacuate the whole building. Slam dunk news reporting here in America, as always...

      September 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alex

    Jim Garra, you were 10 minutes late this morning, please report to HR immediately!

    September 21, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bob

    Figures, Pittsburg is the PITTS!!!!

    September 21, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • fplath

      Indeed, Pittsburg is rather crappy, Pittsburgh, however, is a fun city. You should go there sometime, just make sure you spell it correctly for your nav or you may end up, well, in Ohio.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • GEB

      Pittsburgh is not crappy, jerk!

      September 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • fplath

      @GEB You may want to read my entire post instead of just the first few words.

      September 21, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. 1234

    I work in downtown pittsburgh and they did release his name Klein Michael Thaxton. They relaesed posts from his facebook page that he posted sinces he's been in there. Im guessing he's mad at his dad by the posts.

    September 21, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • GEB

      It's weird seeing live facebook posts by the suspect and people responding to him while the situation is taking place. Praying no one gets killed!

      September 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jaredw

    The suspect was identified as Cline Michael Thaxton a while ago, and is reportedly posting on facebook.

    September 21, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. Brad

    Let's just pray that cool heads prevail and that the situation is resolved without bloodshed.

    September 21, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. DB-Houston

    @Jeff, you're joking, right? I believe that PTSD is a sham, I served in Viet Nam have been out of the Military since 1969, and guess what? I've never whined about anything. Although I am a disabled veteran, I choose not to get the handicapped plates. I will reserve those spots for people far worse off than I.

    September 21, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Lovegod

    Obama says America has been good to the rich who owe a lot to the poor who make up the military and put their lives on the line. So why won't the rich want healthcare and college education for Vets? There is always money to fight wars but never any for health and education! Why? All western countries have public healthcare, why not America?

    September 21, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Mik

      Because as a people, you're morons. LOL

      September 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DB-Houston

    @Samantha – Good one, I should have been quicker at the pick-up, but old age is creeping in, I guess!

    September 21, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. Lovegod

    Sad to say but we will soon learn that the gunman is some poor shell shocked vet denied benefits by the same country who sen him to war! Terrible

    September 21, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. MikeK

    I left Pittsburgh in 1982 and have lived in many states since then. I have not met many folks in my travels that are as friendly as the folks in Pittsburgh not to mention the varity of activities that are available.

    Kind Regards,

    September 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • scott

      so, you've never left the country either? americans in general are jerks

      September 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Danica

    And there it goes!

    Looks like Gateway Center building number 3 is now a giant rubble pile.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrica

      not funny

      September 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Slappy_McGiggles

    Another citizen has snapped under the pressures of modern American living.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Siggie

    As we have been told many times by the NRA, this has nothing to do with guns; the guy could have just as easily have used poison or a bridge to hold off the police...

    September 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yeah Right

      Good one!

      September 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • random

      Don't you think the bomb would be the bigger worry than the gun? This guy could not have a gun and the situation would be about the same due to the potential bomb.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • a76marine

      Wake up, Siggie. Gun ownership being illegal only stops those of us who care about the law from owning guns. I can't even imagine the number of crimes that are committed by people who have obtained the guns illegally.

      The NRA does have it right because you're right... poison or a bridge are not going to stop me from getting mugged downtown, nor are they going to stop someone from coming onto my land and taking whatever they want. A legally obtained gun sure will though.

      September 21, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • GEB

      There was no bomb involved

      September 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • random

      He claimed to have a bomb earlier. Even if he ended up not having one, I don't believe they usually say "Prove it" when the hostage taker is claiming to have a bomb with them.

      September 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • LD

      So, ummm...you're assuming that if guns were "illegal", that this individual wouldn't have one? Try telling that to my pot dealer.

      September 21, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Just Me

    What is it about calm people who always the ones committing crimes.

    September 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5