TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Gunman kills man outside South Strabane Giant Eagle after robbing bank

Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Shopping carts hold up police tape on on Sunday, June 16, 2013, along the pharmacy entrance at the Giant Eagle in South Strabane. A Washington man was fatally shot outside the store while trying to subdue a fleeing bank robber.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>Shopping carts hold up police tape on on Sunday, June 16, 2013, along the pharmacy entrance at the Giant Eagle in South Strabane. A Washington man was fatally shot outside the store while trying to subdue a fleeing bank robber.
- Vincent 'Mystro' Kelley, 46, of Washington 'would always be stepping in, trying to break up fights,' according to friend Kathy Bugaile. Kelley was fatally shot on Sunday, June 16, 2013, while attempting to stop a fleeing bank robbery in South Strabane.
Vincent 'Mystro' Kelley, 46, of Washington 'would always be stepping in, trying to break up fights,' according to friend Kathy Bugaile. Kelley was fatally shot on Sunday, June 16, 2013, while attempting to stop a fleeing bank robbery in South Strabane.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - South Strabane police Detective Mike Schidlmeier (front) and District Attorney Eugene Vittone talk about a fatal shooting and robbery that occurred on Sunday, June 16, 2013, at the Giant Eagle in South Strabane. Police said the robber escaped in a white, four-door sedan, and the vehicle likely has red paint inside from an exploding dye pack in the bag of money he took.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>South Strabane police Detective Mike Schidlmeier (front) and  District Attorney Eugene Vittone talk about a fatal shooting and robbery that occurred on Sunday, June 16, 2013, at the Giant Eagle in South Strabane. Police said the robber escaped in a white, four-door sedan, and the vehicle likely has red paint inside from an exploding dye pack in the bag of money he took.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Law enforcement officers stand behind the Giant Eagle in South Strabane on Sunday, June 16, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>Law enforcement officers stand behind the Giant Eagle in South Strabane on Sunday, June 16, 2013.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review - Police vans block the entrance of the Giant Eagle in South Strabane on Sunday, June 16, 2013, where a Washington man was fatally shot while trying to subdue a bank robber.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review</em></div>Police vans block the entrance of the Giant Eagle in South Strabane on Sunday, June 16, 2013, where a Washington man was fatally shot while trying to subdue a bank robber.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Matthew Santoni and Bill Zlatos
Sunday, June 16, 2013, 5:39 p.m.
 

Vincent “Mystro” Kelley heard screams on Sunday afternoon inside the South Strabane Giant Eagle and saw a man running from the grocery's Citizens Bank branch with a duffel bag and a gun.

Unlike other shoppers and employees, he did not run to the back of the store.

“Vincent took the lead; the only thing I was thinking was that I was going to back him up,” said Jared Cameron, 21, of Washington, a friend of Kelley's from the Brothers of the Hammer Motorcycle Club who said he was inside the supermarket with Kelley when the robbery took place. “We heard the scream, I pushed the buggy away, and (Kelley) went right after him.”

Kelley, 46, also of Washington, chased the man who had just robbed the bank into the store parking lot and tried to subdue him inside the thief's fleeing car. Cameron said his friend appeared to be reaching for a knife he carried when the robber shot Kelley several times and killed him during the getaway about 2:30 p.m..

“I've been here 40 years, and I never had any situations like this in a bank,” said South Strabane police Chief Donald Zofchak. “We've had some robberies over the years, but nothing where somebody's life was taken.”

Police were searching for the thief but had only a vague description of him and his car.

The robber drove around the back of the store, where Kelley either fell or was pushed from the car as it drove off, Cameron said.

“I certainly applaud a citizen's efforts to help society, but you see the ramifications. It cost him his life,” Zofchak said.

Friends and family gathered at Kelley's home hours later said it was just like him to leap into action when he saw something wrong.

“That was just Mystro. He would always be stepping in, trying to break up fights,” said Kathy Bugaile, 44, who described Kelley as her best friend.

When he was out riding with the club on his Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Mean Streak, he was often decked out in jewelry and a black top hat.

He earned his nickname while working for Buckhannon, W.Va.-based ATOS Corp. on gas drilling pad sites: One day the workers' radio was broken, so Kelley sang a cappella all day until a boss told him, “‘Hey, Maestro, knock it off!'” said Jimmy Tilger, 24, another friend from the motorcycle club.

Kelley spelled it “Mystro.”

Officials at ATOS Corp. could not be reached.

Kelley had a daughter, Sierra, 19, and a 9-month-old grandson, Romeo, Bugaile said. She did not know where they were living.

Police were looking for a white four-door compact sedan driven by the robber, said District Attorney Eugene Vittone and South Strabane Detective Mike Schidlmeier. It likely has red paint inside from an exploding dye pack in the money he took from the bank, Schidlmeier said.

Zofchak said police are working on gathering a license plate number and checking cameras in the bank.

Authorities taped off part of the back parking lot and the entrance to the pharmacy. At 5 p.m., the remainder of the store, including the pharmacy, was doing business as usual, except for the sports merchandise area.

Zofchak said the robber wore a mask and possibly did other things to hide his identity.

“Right now, the description is vague because of the disguises,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call South Strabane police at 724-225-8111.

Zofchak could not say how much was stolen from the bank. He said there was no altercation with the teller, but given the location, the robbery and shooting could have resulted in more casualties.

“We got one loss, but it probably could have been a lot more,” he said.

Matthew Santoni and Bill Zlatos are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Santoni can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com. Zlatos can be reached at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Court sides with Beaver County widow whose house was auctioned over $6.30 late fee
  2. Plum High School teacher held for court on charges of intimidation
  3. Philadelphia U.S. Rep. Fattah indicted in racketeering case
  4. Westmoreland park police probe report of man who grabbed woman from Twin Lakes trail
  5. Thief’s attorney blames Rivers Casino; judge isn’t swayed
  6. USW workers to march on ATI headquarters
  7. PTOs, officials welcome waiver of fees for volunteers
  8. Driver accused of crashing head-on into Ligonier officer’s SUV waives right to preliminary hearing
  9. Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
  10. Kang’s 9th-inning home run gives Pirates wild victory over Twins
  11. School credit ratings a problem for several in Western Pennsylvania