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Monessen man fatally shot outside Donner Avenue home

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Christopher Allshouse, 40, has been charged with criminal homicide for allegedly shooting James Ritter, 54, three times, including twice in the head after an argument concerning drugs and entering a rehab facility on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014.

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Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, 3:21 a.m.

A Monessen man was fatally shot three times outside his Donner Avenue home late Wednesday night during an alleged argument over drugs.

James Ritter, 54, of 126 Donner Ave., was pronounced dead at 12:28 a.m. Thursday at Monongahela Valley Hospital in Carroll Township, of gunshot wounds allegedly inflicted by Christopher Allshouse, 40.

Allshouse also lives at 126 Donner, as does his mother, Linda Craig – the victim's girlfriend.

Monessen police Chief John Mandarino said a .22-caliber, semiautomatic handgun was used to shoot Ritter in the upper left chest, back of the head near the brain stem and upper left portion of his head.

Mandarino said officers were dispatched to the scene just after 11:30 p.m. for a reported shooting, adding Allshouse was at the scene but no longer armed.

The chief said that when officers arrived, Craig said, “‘Chris shot Jim.”'

“Officers went inside and (Allshouse) showed them where he put the gun,” Mandarino said.

Allshouse was taken into custody and read his Miranda rights to silence and to legal representation, Mandarino said.

Allshouse is charged with criminal homicide.

Police said they found Ritter unconscious on the sidewalk next to stairs leading to the front porch.

Craig told police that she was in the house and heard several popping noises.

When she came downstairs and asked what was going on, Allshouse told her that he had shot Ritter, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Allshouse directed Officer James Franks to the kitchen, where the gun was located on a table. The weapon is registered to Allshouse, Mandarino said.

According to the affidavit, Allshouse said an argument with Ritter about drugs and entering rehabilitation escalated.

Allshouse shot Ritter outside on the stairs, police said.

Franks noted that he detected the odor of alcohol on Allshouse, who allegedly told police he had consumed several beers.

Police obtained a search warrant and returned to the residence at 2:45 a.m.

Mandarino said no other significant evidence was found relevant to the case.

Allshouse was transported to Monongahela Valley Hospital after police secured a warrant for blood tests and other tests. Mandarino said it could be weeks before test results are available.

Monessen police were assisted by Rostraver Township police and Westmoreland County detectives, who took the gun and empty shell casings to the crime lab for processing.

Allshouse was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Joseph Dalfonso in Monessen shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday.

He is being held in Westmoreland County Prison in Hempfield Township without bond.

He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing 10:30 a.m. Feb. 21 before Dalfonso.

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

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