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Western Psych victims to split $500,000 settlement from shooter's estate

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By Adam Brandolph
Monday, May 5, 2014, 4:24 p.m.

Victims of a shooting rampage at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Oakland will split $500,000 from the dead gunman's estate, court records filed on Monday show.

John Shick, 30, of Oakland walked into Western Psych with two handguns on March 8, 2012, and opened fire, killing a therapist and wounding four others. Police shot and killed Shick.

Shick's $500,000 State Farm renter's insurance policy will pay the five victims or their families and three others who claimed emotional distress nearly $63,000 each, according to a letter from Mark J. Homyak to Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge R. Stanton Wettick. Homyak is the lawyer for Kathryn Leight, 66, of Shaler, a former Western Psych receptionist who survived a gunshot to the chest.

Wettick is expected to approve the settlement on Friday. The insurer in July dropped a lawsuit against the estate that argued the policy didn't cover Shick's actions.

The victims, including the family of Michael Schaab, 25, of Regent Square, who died during the shooting spree, sued Shick, his mother and the University of Pittsburgh for allowing the shooting to occur.

The settlement with Shick's estate has no impact on the other defendants.

Homyak called the $500,000 sum “inadequate.” Others involved in the suit could not be reached or did not return calls.

Wettick dropped claims against AM-GARD Security last month when research showed it had no involvement.

Shick, diagnosed as schizophrenic during involuntary commitments in New York and Oregon, began seeing doctors at UPMC's Shadyside Family Health Center in 2011 when he moved to Pittsburgh to begin graduate school at Duquesne University. The school expelled him in October 2011 and banned him from campus because he harassed female students.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or

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