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Two shooting suspects nabbed

| Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, 12:31 a.m.

In the wake of a shooting this week in downtown California, the mayor is asking anyone with information to come forward.

Mayor Casey Durdines told council Thursday that police have two suspects in custody for the shooting of a man around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Police Chief Rick Encapera said the victim, a man in his early 20s, was confronted by a black male wearing dark clothes after he opened the door of his home at 415 Second St.

The victim told police the suspect pushed a gun to his face. Encapera said the victim was shot in the leg during a struggle for the gun.

The victim's name had not been released as of presstime.

He was flown by medical helicopter to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Witnesses told police after the shooting that they saw three black men get into a dark purple Audi and take off.

The vehicle was seen in Brownsville, and the suspects were taken into custody by California, California University of Pennsylvania, West Brownsville, Brownsville and Redstone Township police.

A state police crime unit was called to assist at the request of Washington County District Attorney Eugene Vittone.

“I met with the chief before the meeting, and they do have a couple of solid suspects and good information,” Durdines said. “It's an ongoing investigation, so if anyone thinks if they saw or heard something, let police know. I feel confident there is going to be a resolution to it.”

Encapera said he has not identified the victim because he has not been able to talk to the victim since being taken to Allegheny General. The chief said he wanted to make sure the man's family had been informed of the shooting.

Wednesday's shooting occurred as plans are under way for Cal U's annual homecoming festivities this weekend.

“We want to have a safe homecoming; don't want any incidents like IUP had. We've had them before, but it's not going to happen this time,” Durdines said.

He was referring to Indiana University of Pennsylvania's homecoming last weekend, where nearly 100 people were arrested and a 280-pound monument was vandalized.

Cal U student Creighton Rabs said he gets a “little nervous” walking to and from his off-campus residence in downtown California.

“I think quite honestly there needs to be a little bit more emphasis on patrolling the immediate neighborhoods where the majority of off-campus housing is located, particularly Second Street, Union Street and those neighborhoods,” Rabs told council.

Durdines reminded motorists of parking restrictions related to Saturday's homecoming parade:

• Third Street: Closed on campus beginning at 7 a.m. and continuing throughout the day.

• Hickory Street: Closed from Sixth Street to Third Street, starting at 7 a.m.

• No parking will be permitted from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Second Street (200 to 500 blocks), Third Street (200 and 400 blocks) and Union Street (200 block).

Vehicles parked along parade routes will receive parking tickets beginning at 9 a.m.

“After 10 a.m., your vehicle will be at Weld's Towing,” Durdines warned.

In other business, council announced that the borough's Halloween parade will be Oct. 30. Lineup starts at 6 p.m. Trick-or-treat is set for 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 26.

Stacy Wolford is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-684-2640 or at

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