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Argument between exes in Brentwood resulted in deadly pursuit

| Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

An argument unleashed a weekend kidnapping, chase and fatal shooting at Pittsburgh International Airport, Allegheny County police said this week.

Ashley Spring, 25, of Fairmont, W.Va., picked up her ex-boyfriend, Jared Brown-Garnham, 21, from his home in Uniontown to take him to a Greyhound bus station in Pittsburgh late Saturday, Brentwood police Chief Robert Butelli said. Butelli said Brown-Garnham was going to give information on a homicide but couldn't elaborate.

Brown-Garnham was a witness to a 2010 murder in Taunton, Mass., and jury selection in the trial was supposed to begin Monday, according to the Taunton Daily Gazette.

“There was a verbal altercation with them over her being contacted by another guy, even though they weren't boyfriend and girlfriend,” county police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said of Spring and Brown-Garnham.

Butelli said Brown-Garnham received several phone calls and became agitated during the drive. They stopped at the Euro Mart in Brentwood so Spring and an older child could use the restroom. When she left the bathroom, Brown-Garnham accused her of calling the police and took the car with Bailey Fergurson, 8 months, and drove south on Route 51 about 11:15 p.m. He was not related to Bailey, police said.

Police issued an Amber Alert early Sunday for a 2000 Toyota Avalon with a West Virginia license plate and told officers to look for Brown-Garnham and Bailey.

Ohio Township police spotted the car on Neville Island at about 1:25 a.m. and chased it to Moon, where Brown-Garnham rammed several security gates on Hangar Road at the airport. Police said he threatened the child with a knife while crashing into police cars, put the knife to her neck and used her as a shield.

When the car became hung up on an airport barrier and Brown-Garnham kept pressing the gas, a front tire caught fire. Officers approached the car, and the trooper shot the suspect once. Spring couldn't be reached for comment on Monday.

Brown-Garnham died in Allegheny General Hospital in the North Side. Bailey was taken to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC in the city's Lawrenceville neighborhood for treatment of neck injuries from the knife and was released about 8 a.m. Sunday

State police did not identify the trooper who fired the shot. Trooper Robin Mungo said the trooper would not be placed on leave. Other police departments, including Pittsburgh police, typically put officers on temporary, paid leave during an administrative review of such incidents.

“The trooper is not under investigation,” Mungo said. “He saved a life. We have an 8-month-old child that will now see Christmas.”

County police and state police are investigating the incident. Officials haven't said why more than two hours elapsed before they issued the Amber Alert.

Mungo referred questions about the state police Amber Alert program to Trooper Adam Reed of the Harrisburg office. Reed was out of the office on Monday and did not return a message seeking comment.

Staff writer Stephanie Hacke contributed to this report. Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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