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Police say attacker shot to death at Bethel Park music store

Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
Allegheny County Homicide and Bethel Park Police investigate the scene of a fatality in Armen's House of Music along Library Road in Bethel Park on Saturday, April 27, 2013.

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By Bill Vidonic
Saturday, April 27, 2013, 2:51 p.m.

After a brief and violent struggle, a Bethel Park business owner on Saturday shot to death a club-wielding man as he attacked the owner's wife inside the couple's music store, police said.

Police Chief John Mackey said robbery did not appear to be the motive, but investigators were not certain why the unidentified man attacked Alfred and Sylvia Armen in Armen's House of Music along Library Road. He said it was not immediately clear whether the Armens knew the man.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office said the man was 31 but did not release additional information.

Alfred Armen, 73, and Sylvia Armen, 72, both of Bethel Park, were being treated for head injuries in UPMC Mercy, Uptown. Mackey said their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

Witnesses said Alfred Armen was taken out of the business on a stretcher, while Sylvia Armen walked out.

The District Attorney's Office will decide whether Armen would face any charges, county police Inspector Chris Kearns said.

The man walked into the store shortly before noon, looked around for a few minutes and then left, Mackey said.

Within moments, the man re-entered the store, Mackey said, brandishing a wooden nightstick, and began attacking Sylvia Armen. Alfred Armen intervened and after a brief struggle shot the man with a .38-caliber revolver.

Mackey said “there were some words exchanged” during the struggle within the cramped confines of the music shop, “but it's not something we're willing to talk about at this time.”

The man's vehicle remained parked outside the store for hours after the shooting, and Mackey said investigators were searching it. The Armens were alone in the store, which was open for business, the chief added.

Mackey said the Armens have operated the business for years. Allegheny County property tax records showed the couple have owned the building since 1996, but Mackey said they do not live there.

A “for sale” sign was in place outside the music lessons and instruments store on Saturday.

Neighbor Lisa Augustine said her son Aaron, 15, had just taken a piano lesson at the store on Friday.

“He's a very nice guy,” Augustine said of Alfred Armen. “He just told me Thursday, ‘You have a really nice boy there, a nice kid.' ”

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or

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