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West Mifflin man sought in shooting case

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Joshua Smidansky

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Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, 1:16 a.m.
 

A West Mifflin man is sought in connection with the July 14 shooting of an Avalon woman who found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Pittsburgh Crime Stoppers announced on Wednesday that it is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of Joshua Smidansky, 19, in the wounding of Melissa Sill.

Investigators said Sill was in a car around 1 a.m. when it was caught in the crossfire between two people.

Allegheny County Police said Smidansky was identified as one of them. The other suspect has not been identified.

West Mifflin police said Sill was found shot inside a vehicle that wound up along the 500 block of Coal Street, not far from the Munhall borough line. Police said Sill was not involved in the altercation.

Police said a warrant was obtained on Aug. 15 for Smidansky's arrest on four counts each of a felony, aggravated assault, and a misdemeanor, recklessly endangering another person.

Smidansky faces a felony count of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and a misdemeanor count of illegal possession of a firearm, according to a filing with Magisterial District Judge Richard D. Olasz Jr. in West Mifflin.

Smidansky is described as a white male, 6 feet 1 inch tall and 180 pounds, with blond hair and hazel eyes.

According to court records, he faced Olasz on two previous occasions, including one case in December in which he pleaded guilty to possession of alcoholic beverages by a minor.

Pittsburgh Crime Stoppers said anyone with information is asked to call 412-255-8477 (TIPS). Callers may remain anonymous.

Police told Trib Total Media news exchange partner WPXI-11 that Sill and a group of friends were on their way to a home in West Mifflin when their car was hit by about half a dozen bullets.

One bullet struck Sill in the lower back.

“I just couldn't imagine something happening to such a good person,” Kathleen Costello told WPXI.

Costello and two other friends of Sill, Jennifer Lynn and Nicole Snyder, set up a fund at PNC Bank to pay Sill's medical expenses.

Donations can be made at any local PNC branch to the “Melissa Sill Recovery Fund” or at www.paypal.com using the email address melissasillRF@gmail.com.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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