SWAT descends on Brookline home; suspect arrested elsewhere
By Michael Hasch
Published: Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh police, heavily armed SWAT officers, bomb squad technicians and narcotics officers descended on Friday afternoon on a normally quiet residential street in Brookline because a man who was being evicted from his home told court officials he had a gun and would use it.
Officers found no one home at the rental house in the 900 block of Fordham Avenue.
The tenant, Gregg A. Tchirkow, 34, was arrested outside a Brookline pharmacy and charged with making terroristic threats and various drug violations. He was awaiting arraignment in Night Court.
“I have kids. We were all scared today,” said one neighbor, Katie Pancake, holding one of her two young children.
Residents said they have been concerned since May 2012 when, according to various court documents, Tchirkow pleaded guilty to a weapons charge for firing a gun into the ground during a dispute with a neighbor.
“I always say hello to him, and he says ‘Hi,' but everybody is leery of him. He is so paranoid, he padlocks his front gate,” Pancake said.
According to court documents:
Tchirkow was issued a notice of eviction by District Judge James A. Motznik this month for being more than $1,600 behind in his rent. He was given until Friday to vacate the house.
When he left the courtroom, a clerk in Motznik's office heard Tchirkow say, “I can't be accused of murder if (I) shoot someone under duress.”
Later, he called Motznik's office and said, “No one is going to put a gun to my head and force me out of my residence.”
Tchirkow made six calls to Motznik's office in the ensuing days, including one this week when he said: “If they come to evict me at the end of the week, I have a gun, and I ain't afraid to use it.”
When SWAT officers stopped Tchirkow's vehicle in the pharmacy parking lot Friday and searched him and the vehicle for weapons, they reportedly found 14 pills for anxiety, which were not prescribed to him, as well as a small amount of marijuana and more than $1,000 in cash.
It is not clear what, if anything, was found inside the house.
Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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