Suspect surrenders in Penn Township foundry evacuation
By Renatta Signorini
Published: Thursday, May 23, 2013, 3:03 a.m.
In a span of two minutes, a gun-wielding Greensburg man allegedly walked into his Penn Township workplace, ordered his co-workers out and then fled before police arrived.
Matthew Devon Smith, 28, didn't verbally threaten workers at Perma-Cast Inc. when he entered the foundry at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, but seeing him carrying an assault rifle and a handgun frightened them, township police Chief John Otto said.
At 11:17 p.m., Smith was seen on security camera footage fleeing the scene, setting off a 12-hour manhunt during which police searched surrounding municipalities for a gold Hyundai that Smith was seen driving.
Smith surrendered to Monroeville authorities Thursday afternoon and was questioned by police. He was arraigned by video on charges of risking a catastrophe, simple assault, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct before District Judge Roger Eckels. Smith is being held in the Westmoreland County jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.
At some point on Wednesday, Smith was notified by his employer that he was being suspended from work for three days for “violations of work performance,” police said in an affidavit of probable cause.
“At the time of his suspension, he was aggravated and left the business,” Patrolman Douglas Lewis wrote in the affidavit.
Police are investigating why Smith visited the business Wednesday while a handful of employees were at Perma-Cast, which is in an industrial park near Route 22, Otto said. A Perma-Cast official did not return a message seeking comment.
Smith allegedly walked through the loading dock, carrying an AK-47 in his hands and a handgun in his pocket, “and he told the people within that business to get out,” Otto said.
While police were interviewing witnesses after the incident, smoke began pouring from the building. Otto said investigators believe the smoke was a result of a machine overheating after employees were ordered to leave.
After Smith fled, police believe he spent time in Monroeville and Greensburg, “just kinda laying low,” Otto said.
“He placed the guns in a storage locker in Greensburg someplace,” Otto said.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 4 before Penn Township District Judge Helen Kistler.
Perma-Cast produces mold castings for various worldwide manufacturing and service industries, including electrical and locomotive. It is in Westmoreland Industrial Park III.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Jailed Hribal ‘fine,’ but family ‘terrible’ as answers in stabbing sought
- Police: Volunteer firefighter admits to setting fires
- Community turns out for Franklin Regional students’ return to class
- Hempfield Area superintendent, business manager quit
- Judge rules Delmont man was not aggressor in assault outside Wal-Mart
- Students visit Franklin Regional days after mass stabbing
- Vandalizing locks at Washington Township judge’s office could land man in prison
- New citizens embrace ‘special day’ at Westmoreland naturalization ceremony
- New Mt. Pleasant school district business manager comes with vast experience
- Franklin Regional staff try to return to normal for students’ return
- Ligonier Township farm owner says parties did not violate judge’s consent order