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Police seek mystery man in Westmoreland County shooting death

| Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, 12:16 p.m.
The scene of a homicide at 131 Quarry Road in Torrance photographed on December 30, 2012. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Danielle Leigh Clawson, 23; Tiffany A. Blattenberger, 22; and Jesus Santiago, 42, (from left) — were arraigned Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012 in connection with the shooting death of a man who police said tried to rob a Derry Township mobile home. Submitted photos
A still from a surveillance camera provided by the state police in Greensburg on Sunday, December 30, 2012, shows Michael Volk (right), the shooting victim who died at a trailer on Quarry Road in Torrance, and an unidentified man who is still at large. Police are seeking the unidentified man, known only as 'Mitch.' Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review

A robbery attempt that ended with a fatal shooting on Saturday in Derry Township has state police searching for a man whose name they don't know.

With only the name “Mitch” and surveillance video from the Burrell Township Wal-Mart store, police are enlisting the public's help in locating the man.

“We have someone there that was involved in a shooting that we don't know where he is,” Trooper Steve Limani said. “We don't even know what his last name is right now.”

Police said the incident occurred on Saturday afternoon in a mobile home in the village of Torrance along Quarry Road, near Torrance State Hospital. Charges were filed on Sunday against three people who police say conspired in the robbery that led to the shooting death of Michael Matthew Volk, 24, of New Florence.

The three suspects — Danielle Leigh Clawson, 23, of Gamble Road in West Wheatfield Township, Indiana County; and Jesus Santiago, 42, and Tiffany A. Blattenberger, 22, both of Quarry Road, Derry Township — were lodged in the Westmoreland County Prison without bail. All three were arraigned on Sunday morning by District Judge Douglas Weimer on charges of homicide, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

None is accused of firing the shots that killed Volk. Police said they are charged with homicide because they were conspirators in the robbery that led to Volk's death.

Police allege that Volk, Santiago, Clawson and Blattenberger conspired to rob “Mitch” of heroin and money. Police said “Mitch” was staying at the Quarry Road home where Santiago and Blattenberger live with their two toddler children. The children are now with a relative.

Limani said the group only recently had met “Mitch.”

“All four of them knew ... that they were going to rob this person,” he added.

According to an affidavit filed by Trooper William Bigelow, Clawson drove Volk, her boyfriend, to Quarry Road on Saturday to commit the robbery. Then, Clawson and Blattenberger left while Santiago and Volk went inside.

“As a result of Volk entering the residence and confronting ‘Mitch' to rob him, a gun was introduced and used to shoot (Volk) twice resulting in his death,” the affidavit states.

The two children were in a bedroom at the time, Limani said. Police are investigating who had the gun. Volk was shot twice in the head and was found lying face up in a hallway, according to court papers.

The Westmoreland County Coroner's Office did not release details on Sunday.

Clawson and Blattenberger returned to the residence after the robbery and found Volk fatally injured. “Mitch” allegedly held them at gunpoint for a half-hour before fleeing in a maroon vehicle.

Blattenberger called police at 1 p.m. Saturday. Yellow caution tape wrapped the property on Sunday.

Preliminary hearings for Blattenberger, Clawson and Santiago are scheduled for Jan. 9 before District Judge Mark Bilik.

Court records show Clawson was convicted of bad-check offenses in Indiana County in 2010.

Volk was sentenced in 2009 to probation in Armstrong County in connection with the July 2007 theft of thousands of dollars worth of tools from U.S. Energy Exploration and Rosebud Mining, both in Kiski Township.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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