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1 intruder killed, other shot and wounded in Carrick home invasion

| Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 7:18 a.m.
James Knox | TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
This apartment building (right) in the 20 block of Merritt Avenue on Tuesday July 21, 2014, in Carrick was the scene of a fatal home invasion overnight.

Mark Gosselin woke up early Tuesday in his Carrick apartment when he heard pounding on his neighbor's door, then shotgun blasts and screams.

His cat, Puff, hid under the bed, and a friend told him to duck to avoid gunfire that killed one intruder and injured another.

“I'm going to put more locks on my door — way more locks,” Gosselin said. “I'm going to put a peephole in the door so I can see who's up to the door.”

Police found Christopher A. Thomas, 27, of Marshall-Shadeland lying face down about 2:20 a.m. on the front steps of the Merritt Avenue apartment building with an abdominal bullet wound, said Pittsburgh Public Safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler. A handgun was lying nearby.

Thomas was in critical condition at UPMC Mercy, Uptown.

He is charged with aggravated assault, burglary, robbery, conspiracy and carrying a firearm without a license — all felonies, court records show. He was also wanted on an arrest warrant from Pittsburgh police related to a rape that happened in April.

Police found the body of David Calhoun, 31, of Carrick inside the apartment.

The apartment resident, whom authorities did not identify, told police that one of the men shot into the door of his first-floor apartment, and they pushed inside, Toler said. They shoved a 19-year-old man, who lives there with his 17-year-old girlfriend, into a bedroom and asked for “his stuff,” she said.

The tenant pulled out a shotgun and fired three times, hitting both men, Toler said.

Later Tuesday, dried blood trailed on the well-worn carpet down the hall of the apartment building, to the front stoop and down the steps.

The incident took place in the neighborhood where crews are filming the Hollywood movie “Southpaw,” starring actor Jake Gyllenhaal.

Another neighbor who declined to give his name for fear of retaliation, said he saw Thomas, the wounded intruder, lurch down the steps before collapsing. The man said he attempted to put pressure on the wound but Thomas refused his aid.

Another neighbor, Clara Hicks, 66, said she could not hear the commotion because her air conditioner drowned out the noise. She was not surprised that it happened.

“It's a bad neighborhood — drugs,” she said.

Hicks said she heard gunshots about three years ago from another house on the street.

Police interviewed the tenant and his girlfriend at police headquarters. They do not expect to charge the man with the shooting, Toler said. Neither resident was injured.

“He was within his rights to have a shotgun in his residence,” she said.

Margaret Harding and Bill Zlatos are Trib Total Media staff writers. Reach Harding at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com and Zlatos at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

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