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Two wounded in Donora bar shooting

| Saturday, July 6, 2013, 12:16 a.m.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
Ray's Place, 864, Meldon Ave. , where there was a shooting on, July,4,2013. You still can ee the three bullet holes in the door. On July, 5, 2013.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
Ray's Place, 864, Meldon Ave. , where there was a shooting on, July,4,2013. You still can ee the three bullet holes in the door. On July, 5, 2013.

A holiday night out turned violent at Ray's Place in Donora early Friday morning as shots rang out.

Two men, Chris Tartt, no address given, and Jerome Pryor, of Monessen were wounded by a man who allegedly fired bullets through the door of the 864 Meldon Ave. bar.

Police are seeking the alleged shooter – Frank “Kimo” Tartt, 32, of 1273 Marelda Ave., Donora.

In a complaint filed with Magisterial District Judge Mark Wilson in Monongahela, Frank Tartt faces four counts of aggravated assault, two counts each of attempted homicide and recklessly endangering another person, and single counts of firearms not to be carried without a license, and discharging a firearm into an occupied structure.

In the wake of the shooting, state Liquor Control Board officials escorted by Donora police asked the owner Charles Ray Shutterly to voluntarily close the establishment.

Shutterly agreed, and the bar was closed Friday evening.

Mayor John Lignelli said a hearing will take place in Washington, Pa., next week to determine the length of the shutdown.

He said the borough will try to have Ray's Place permanently closed.

Shots heard

Standing outside their station this morning, police heard gunshots, called for backup and rushed to Ray's.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, police arrived to find panicked people leaving the scene.

The outer glass door at Ray's was shattered and there were three bullet holes in the inner door.

Officers saw blood on the bar floor and found six shell casings outside on the sidewalk and street.

Police said a witness said he saw two men fighting outside of the bar. He said one of the men pulled out a black pistol and fired into the bar door.

Police allege Frank Tartt approached his cousin, Chris Tartt, swore at him and challenged him to a fight over a female.

Chris Tartt told police he knew Frank Tartt carries a gun.

Claiming Frank Tartt “chest-bumped” him, Chris Tartt said he “felt what was believed to be a pistol tucked in the front of Frank's pants,” the affidavit states.

Chris Tartt told police he began to hit Frank Tartt in the face in an effort to keep Frank Tartt from using the suspected weapon.

He allegedly told police that after the fight, Frank Tartt went outside, pulled out a black pistol and fired the weapon into the door.

Chris Tartt was struck in his left thigh.

According to Monongahela Valley Hospital spokeswoman Corinne Laboon, Tartt was treated at the Carroll Township hospital and was later transferred to a Pittsburgh hospital.

His condition was unknown prior to presstime.

Pryor, a customer in the bar, told police he was pulling two women to the ground during the incident when he was shot in the upper left arm.

Donora police Superintendent James Brice said Pryor was treated at Monongahela Valley Hospital and later released. Brice suggested that Pryor was hit by shrapnel or a piece of a bullet that struck the bar floor.

A warrant has been issued for Frank Tartt's arrest. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Donora police through Washington County 911 or by calling the station at 724-379-9292.

Before the Friday incident, Frank Tartt was already awaiting trial in Washington County Court on charges of receiving stolen property, firearms not to be carried without a license, possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana.

They were filed by California borough police in July 2012. Frank Tartt was free $20,000 bond.

Lignelli said he heard about the incident on a police scanner at his home.

“I was listening to the play-by-play of what was going on,” Lignelli said. “I'm sick of it. We've had so many complaints from neighbors about that place.

“Now the neighbors are even afraid to call the police. It shouldn't be like that. That's no way to live your life.”

The borough previously worked to have Ray's declared a nuisance bar by the Washington County District Attorney's Office and the state Liquor Control Board.

While the LCB had suspended the Ray's Place licence, Brice said it had been reinstated in the past two weeks.

“They've been warned and warned and warned,” Lignelli said of the bar owner. “It's a bad place, and something has to be done. The people in the neighborhood are beside themselves and scared.

“I don't mind the people going into the bar ... but, Christ almighty, you don't need to be killing people to enjoy yourself.”

Lignelli said he contacted Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone, who told the mayor he called officials involved in the prior LCB case against Ray's.

“We're not going to drag our feet on this,” Lignelli said. “I was a major player in closing two beer gardens here in Donora. We're going to get this place shut down, too.

“We need to do something, because those people that live down there are scared to death. No one should have to live in fear like that. Those people running that bar and going to that bar should realize that.”

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2667.

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