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Allegheny County deputy sheriff's quick action subdues trio in Downtown shooting

| Sunday, April 7, 2013, 12:41 a.m.
Allegheny County deputy sheriff Sgt. Kevin Faulds speaks Saturday, April 6, 2013, about breaking up a shooting Downtown the previous day in which two men were wounded.

For a half-second Friday afternoon, Allegheny County deputy sheriff Sgt. Kevin Faulds thought two sharp cracks that echoed off a busy Downtown street might have come from a nearby construction site.

But as he turned his cruiser onto Fifth Avenue and saw people fleeing in panic as one man fired at another, Faulds knew he had just seconds to act.

“The training we go through, we're taught to react now, not wait,” Faulds said.

City police praised the actions of Faulds, 36, a 14-year veteran of the sheriff's department, and off-duty city Detective Joseph Ryczaj, in quickly subduing three men involved in the fracas.

Police charged Hassan Howze, 22, and Antonio Peterson, 24, both of Overbrook, with aggravated assault and conspiracy, saying they attacked Jamel Terry Sr., 22, of Bellevue. Howze pulled out a gun, police said, and shot Terry in the shoulder. Police said Terry wrestled the gun away and shot Howze in the buttocks.

Faulds said as he approached the men, his gun drawn and screaming for the men to get on the ground, it “almost looked like a rugby scrum.”

Faulds saw Terry throw the gun away. Faulds pulled Howze off Terry, but then Peterson got on top of the Bellevue man.

Faulds said Peterson reached into his waistband, pulled a gun from his pants and tossed it aside.

“I would imagine if I would have felt threatened at that time, or my life was in danger, different action may have had to be taken,” Faulds said of Peterson. “But I believe he was trying to hide it or to get rid of it more than to pull it or use it at me at that time.”

Police charged Peterson with carrying a concealed weapon. Ryczaj, who had been eating in a nearby restaurant, and city police bicycle Officer Robert Synowiec then handcuffed the three men.

The shooting, Faulds acknowledged, got a lot of attention because it took place in the daytime in a busy section of Downtown.

“There are officers every day, probably right now, who are fighting against guys who have weapons that are trying to be used against them,” Faulds said. “I happened to be close by, and these individuals were going after the victim.”

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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