Gunman kills man outside South Strabane Giant Eagle after robbing bank
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Golfer’s body found in lake at Moon country club
- Steelers’ Martavis Bryant facing four-game suspension
- Alvarez, Cole lead Pirates past Marlins
- Steelers rookie receiver Coates learning on the fly
- Class AAAA breakdown: Wealth of talent places target on Central Catholic
- Pennsylvania warming to bring ‘profound’ changes, Penn State report says
- Pirates notebook: Hurdle mulling rotation options
- Gorman: Don’t judge WPIAL by the cover
- Animal Rescue League, miffed at Vick signing, moves gala from Heinz Field to Consol
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin leaving `light on’ for injured players
- Pitt freshman O’Neill eats up switch to tackle