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Police arrest man after Hill District standoff

| Monday, April 21, 2014, 11:04 a.m.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Police and SWAT take a man into custody on Monday, April 21, 2014, after a standoff in a house at the corner of Reed and Crawford streets in the Hill District.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Police and SWAT take a man into custody Monday, April 21, 2014 after a standoff in a house at the corner of Reed and Crawford Streets in the Hill District.

A three-and-a-half hour standoff on Monday between Pittsburgh police and a man who escaped a halfway house, where he was serving time for threatening to blow up PNC Park and the Allegheny County Jail, ended peacefully.

SWAT officers used tear gas to force Termaine Washington, 24, out of a Hill District boarding house at Crawford and Reed streets just before 11 a.m. Washington, who walked away from a Downtown halfway house on April 8, was taken into custody without injury, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

John Gallagher, a supervisor with the marshals service fugitive task force, said Washington would be charged with escape. He is serving a 24-month sentence for bomb threats.

Donald Hetzler, 71, who owns the Hill District boarding house, said he tipped police to Washington's whereabouts after learning he was wanted on a federal warrant.

“When I found out, I immediately called 911,” Hetzler said.

Federal court records show Washington pleaded guilty last year to using a stolen cellphone to call in seven bomb threats over a five-day period in September 2012. He threatened to blow up PNC Park and the county jail, and to kill Allegheny County 911 dispatchers, the records show.

Hetzler, who rents to people in need, said he discovered items missing from the house several weeks after Washington moved in. He reported the thefts to police, who zeroed in on Washington when Hetzler provided a list of boarders.

Seven officers arrived at the house on Sunday night, but Washington wasn't there, Hetzler said. Hetzler said he called police again after seeing Washington sleeping in a room on Monday morning. Officers closed Crawford, Reed, Colwell and Pride streets after arriving about 7:30 a.m.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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