Share This Page

Washington Co. woman charged after shooting roommate in head

| Saturday, March 15, 2014, 8:09 a.m.
A Washington County Correctional Facility mug shot shows Tracy J. Chechuck, 26, of Cross Creek, Washington County, who was charged Saturday, March 15, 2014, with attempted homicide and other offenses. State police said Louis Ruscello was arguing with Chechuck’s fiancé, and shot Ruscello while trying to break up the fight.

A Washington County woman said she accidentally shot one of her roommates in the head during an argument late Friday, state police said.

Louis E. Ruscello, 39, was in critical but stable condition Saturday in UPMC Presbyterian, state Trooper Douglas Rush said. Roommate Tracy J. Chechuck, 26, remained in the Washington County Correctional Facility on Saturday, charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

Rush said Chechuck, her fiance, Lowe M. Hawkins Jr., and Ruscello were drinking in an Avella bar on Friday before returning to the Cross Creek, Washington County, home they have shared since December.

There, Hawkins and Ruscello began to fight, with some pushing, shoving and yelling, Rush said. Chechuck got a .45-caliber pistol registered to Hawkins, Rush said. She briefly sat down in the living room with the gun, before entering the kitchen where Ruscello was pushing Hawkins against a stove, and Chechuck tried to intervene. She chambered a round in the gun, Rush said.

“For whatever reason, the accused decides to go get a gun to try to scare the victim,” Rush said. “She put it up to the victim's head, and it went off.”

Chechuck dialed 911 to summon police and medical help for Ruscello, Rush said. When police arrived, Chechuck and Hawkins insisted that the gun went off by accident, and she hadn't intended to shoot Ruscello.

Ruscello was flown to Pittsburgh for treatment. Rush said investigators were told that doctors don't believe that Ruscello suffered any brain damage, with a bullet lodged in the left side of his face.

Chechuck was placed in jail after failing to post $50,000 bond set by District Judge Jay Weller.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.