Share This Page

Reward offered in fatal Derry Township shooting

| Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

A $2,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of a Penn Hills man accused of shooting and killing an Indiana County man during a botched robbery Saturday in Derry Township.

Trooper Steve Limani of state police in Greensburg said Crimestoppers is offering the reward for information leading to the arrest of Ronell Lamar Moses Jr., 20, of Hamilton Drive.

“Moses should be considered armed and dangerous,” Limani said Thursday. “We've been following up on several leads but so far have been unable to locate the suspect. We're hoping this reward persuades someone to come forward and provide us new information to enable us to make an arrest.”

Police said Moses shot and killed Michael Matthew Volk, 24, of Gamble Road, West Wheatfield, as Volk attempted to rob the Allegheny County man in a mobile home in Torrance.

Police have accused three others of conspiring to rob Moses, an alleged drug dealer whom they barely knew, of money and heroin. Moses was staying at 131 Quarry Road, just outside Blairsville, to sell drugs, police allege.

Danielle Leigh Clawson, 23, of West Wheatfield, told police she drove Volk, her boyfriend, to the Quarry Road home, where he planned to rob the man first identified by witnesses as “Mitch,” police said.

Limani said Thursday that police believe Moses was called “Mitch” only by his drug customers in the Blairsville and Derry Township areas.

Volk met up with Jesus Santiago, 42, who lived at the mobile home, and both men went inside, police said. Clawson left the residence with Santiago‘s girlfriend, Tiffany A. Blattenberger, 22, and they returned a short time later to find Volk lying dead inside, according to police.

“Santiago opened the door and was visibly upset,” a police affidavit said. “Santiago stated that ‘Mitch‘ had shot Volk.”

Police identified “Mitch” as Moses after disseminating a surveillance photo taken of Moses with Volk at the Wal-Mart along Route 22 near Blairsville Dec. 28, when he and Volk were at the store.

Clawson, Blattenberger and Santiago allegedly were held inside the mobile home at gunpoint by Moses, who demanded a cellphone. Moses got a ride and fled with the phone and a silver-colored handgun, police allege.

Blattenberger and Santiago's two young children were at home during the incident. The children are now with relatives, police said.

Volk was shot in the head and stomach, according to a criminal complaint. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Westmoreland County Coroner's office.

Moses is charged with homicide, kidnapping, unlawful possession of a firearm and terroristic threats.

Clawson and Blattenberger identified Moses as their intended robbery target and assailant from a photo line-up, police said.

Clawson, Blattenberger and Santiago are being held in the Westmoreland County jail without bail. All are charged with homicide, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. They were charged with homicide because they plotted the robbery that led to Volk‘s death, police said.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled for Jan. 9 before Derry Township District Judge Mark Bilik.

The group had just met Moses. Santiago told police he received a phone call Friday from a white male who said “Mitch” would be staying with Santiago to distribute narcotics, according to court documents. Moses was awaiting arraignment for a charge of flight to avoid apprehension filed by Pittsburgh police on Nov. 19, according to online court records. Moses posted $10,000 bond in August.

His arraignment, originally scheduled for Dec. 31, was rescheduled for Feb. 4.

Robbery charges filed against Moses by Pittsburgh police in July 2011 were withdrawn in August, according to court records.

C. Frederick Bowser Funeral Home in Homer City is in charge of private funeral services for Volk.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or ppeirce@tribweb.com.

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.