One killed, four critically wounded in shootings

Posted: Wednesday, March 01, 2000

WILKINSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A man set his apartment on fire today, shot lunchtime customers at two fast-food restaurants, then holed up in an office building before surrendering. One person was killed and at least four critically injured.

The suspect surrendered in a hallway, said Thomas Sturgeon, superintendent of Allegheny County police. He confirmed one person was killed before the suspect went to the office building, which houses day care and senior citizens' centers.

Four or five hostages in the building were safely released when the man surrendered, State Police Trooper Jim Algeo said.

The shooting spree began at about 11 a.m. in Wilkinsburg, about nine miles east of Pittsburgh. One person was shot at a Burger King and at least two at a nearby McDonald's restaurant, Police Chief Gerald Brewer said.

Police did not release further information about the victims, but a woman at the scene said her stepfather, Richard Clinger, was shot while sitting in his van in the McDonald's parking lot.

``Me and my stepfather were sitting in the truck, and this guy just walked up and started shooting,'' said Candy Zambo, who was unhurt. ``I thought maybe he was going to ask for directions or something. He just turned and walked into McDonald's.''

Tony Elhaja, manager of a Dunkin' Donuts next to the McDonald's, said the daughter of the man shot in the parking lot came into his store to wait for police.

``She ran inside and was crying,'' Elhaja said.

Brewer said the gunman fled into the office building and remained there with the hostages until he surrendered at about 2 p.m.

As police surrounded the building, officers led a group of children away.

Taryn Harris said her 2- and 5-year-old daughters remained inside the day-care center before the suspect surrendered. ``They said they were OK. They just can't come out,'' Harris said.

Four people were in critical condition at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Presbyterian, spokesman Frank Raczkiewicz said. A 65-year-old man was in critical condition at Mercy Hospital with a single gunshot wound to the head, said spokeswoman Linda K. Ross.

It was unclear if a sixth person had been shot or if one of the five had died.

As police negotiated with the gunman, Don Treser spoke on a cell phone with his fiancee, Janet Lukitsch, who was on the second floor of the building at a home health care business.

``They're OK,'' Treser said. ``This is awful. You watch this in the movies. Not in real life.''

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