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1 killed, 5 injured in Strip District shooting

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Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, 6:27 a.m.
 

Police believe the echoing rumble of motorcycle engines was enough to prompt at least one man to open fire on members of the Pittsburgh Gentlemen Motorcycle Club, killing a Penn Hills man and wounding five in the Strip District.

Tyrone Tomman, 40, and fellow members of the riding club drew complaints from bar patrons about the noise when they parked their motorcycles outside Art's Tavern in the 2800 block of Penn Avenue shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday, Pittsburgh police Lt. Daniel Herrmann said.

The argument escalated, possibly inside the club, he said. At least one gunman opened fire at the group, killing Tomman with a single shot in the chest and wounding five others ranging in age from 34 to 44.

One drove himself to Children's Hospital; a shot in the torso left him in critical condition. Two were transported from the scene to UPMC Mercy and are in stable condition. Another drove himself to UPMC Presbyterian with a minor calf wound, and one is stable in Allegheny General Hospital.

Witnesses described the gunman as a black male, about 6-foot-7 and between 250 and 270 pounds, wearing a blue shirt and glasses. He told others he lived in the North Side and yelled at the victims from outside Art's Tavern before the gunfire began, Hermann said.

The shooting may have started on the street but ended in a black Chevy Tahoe, witnesses said. Shots flew from both the front and rear windows, according to police.

Officers collected 20 shell casings from at least three different caliber weapons spread along Penn Avenue between 28th and 29th streets.

A black SUV matching the description provided at the scene was found three hours later engulfed in flames in the 500 block of Francis Street in the Hill District.

Officers weren't sure whether the bikers returned fire, Herrmann said, describing the group as helpful and responsible. The club has no history of criminal activity, he said.

“We're not talking about Pagans or Hell's Angels or anything here,” Herrmann said. “We're talking about a local Homewood group who liked to get together to ride motorcycles — very clean, very expensive motorcycles.”

The crime marks the 59th homicide this year in Allegheny County, which is on pace for more than 100 by year's end, experts said this week.

Maurice Freeman, 21, of Northview Heights died early Friday from gunshot wounds in a North Side drive-by. Two men were shot, one fatally, in the same complex on Wednesday. The city recorded 11 homicides for the month of July, a first since 2010, according to figures from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

Megan Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at 412-388-5815 or mharris@tribweb.com.

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