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Derry woman shot 4 times in critical condition; man in custody

Arthur Leroy Whitfield III is accused of shooting a woman four times at her home in Derry, Westmoreland County.

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Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, 10:57 a.m.
 

An Indiana County man who was angry about a break-up with his ex-girlfriend barged into her Derry home on Sunday night and shot her four times, state police said.

Arthur Leroy Whitfield, 51, of Josephine was arraigned on multiple criminal charges, including attempted homicide, for the shooting of Holly G. Embry, 35, at her home along the 700 block of West First Avenue.

Trooper Stephen Limani said Embry was in “very critical” condition on Monday at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, where she was flown by medical helicopter after the 9:30 p.m. shooting.

“Mr. Whitfield was reportedly angered over a change in their relationship, entered the residence and shot his ex-girlfriend,” Limani said.

Limani said Whitfield shot the woman as she was in bed watching television with her 15-year-old daughter. The teen was not harmed.

“It was a very brutal ... quick attack. I can't imagine the emotions and trauma those children in the home experienced witnessing that,” Limani said.

Whitfield entered the home through an unlocked door and went upstairs to the bedroom, according to a copy of the criminal complaint.

The daughter noticed the door knob turning, but the door was locked, so she got up and unlocked it, Trooper Robert Burford wrote in the affidavit.

Whitfield allegedly pulled a .380-caliber handgun from his waistband when he entered the bedroom and told Embry, “This is the last time you're gonna (expletive) me,” before firing the shots and running.

Embry's two other children, age 9 and 13, were in a nearby bedroom with Embry and Whitfield's 21-year-old daughter, Limani said.

The couple's adult daughter witnessed the shooting when she looked out of her bedroom to check on the commotion, police said. The other children were not injured.

Whitfield was arrested a few miles outside Derry just after 2:30 a.m. when passers-by saw him hitchhiking north along Route 217. Limani said Whitfield was taken into custody without incident.

Police have not recovered the gun used in the shooting, Limani said.

In addition to attempted homicide, Whitfield is charged with illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, aggravated assault, criminal trespass, discharging a firearm in an occupied structure, possessing a firearm without a license, reckless endangerment and simple assault.

Court records in Indiana and Westmoreland counties show that during much of the 1990s, Whitfield was incarcerated for convictions of indecent aggravated assault and driving under the influence in Indiana County in 1990. He pleaded guilty to raping a 15-year-old Derry Township girl at knifepoint in 1993 and served five years of a five- to 10-year sentence.

In 2006, Whitfield pleaded guilty to workers compensation insurance fraud in Indiana County and was sentenced to two to four years in prison.

Whitfield is in the Westmoreland County Prison, where he was ordered held on $250,000 bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 11 before Derry Township District Judge Mark Bilik.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or ppeirce@tribweb.com.

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