Monessen man died from bullet to the neck, coroner says
A man who was killed in Monessen died from a single gunshot wound in the neck, an autopsy on Thursday discovered.
Westmoreland County Deputy Coroner Joshua Zappone said Dennis R. Fitzwater, 31, suffered blood loss that caused his death.
Two masked men bound Fitzwater's wrists with tape before shooting him about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night in a home in the 500 block of Chestnut Street, according to Monessen police and Westmoreland County detectives.
No arrests have been made.
The coroner's office ruled the death a homicide. Toxicology reports on Fitzwater, 31, will take several weeks to complete.
Two children, ages 2 and 5, apparently slept through the attack, when the men entered the home and shot Fitzwater in a second-floor bedroom, police said.
Fitzwater apparently managed to get downstairs to the kitchen and collapsed on the floor, his wrists bound with tape, according to city police Chief John Mandarino.
He was pronounced dead at 4:10 a.m. on Wednesday by Zappone and Deputy Coroner Doug Lewis.
Police are looking for two black men, one about 6 feet 3 inches tall, and the other about 5 feet 10 inches tall. Both wore black hooded sweatshirts and covered their faces with bandanas.
Mandarino said a man and a woman who were in the home during the shooting were questioned on Wednesday morning at the city police station.
The gunmen allegedly threatened the male resident before shooting Fitzwater.
On Wednesday, investigators recovered a Taurus .38-caliber special revolver, which had been reported stolen in Donora, concealed within a tire outside the Chestnut Street home, according to a search warrant affidavit.
Ballistic tests are being conducted to determine whether the firearm was used to kill Fitzwater.
Fitzwater was released on Thursday from the county jail, where he had been held since May 17 on charges of drug possession and drug paraphernalia charges. He posted $10,000 bond through a bail bondsman.
He was awaiting a preliminary hearing before West Newton District Judge Charles Christner on theft charges filed in 2013 for $9,000 worth of metal rims in North Belle Vernon. In 2008, Fitzwater was sentenced to two years of intermediate punishment after a conviction for selling marijuana.
Parzynski Funeral Home in North Belle Vernon is handling funeral arrangements.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
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.
- Westmoreland County settles with fired public defender
- Endowment of $3.49B makes University of Pittsburgh 25th richest in U.S.
- Rostraver Democrat aims for 1 of 3 open spots on Westmoreland County bench
- Suspect in West Newton burglary sought; alleged accomplice arrested
- 3 injured in 2-vehicle accident on Arona Road in Hempfield
- Woman pays $178 fine for Westmoreland courthouse conduct
- Braddock man held for trial in Jeannette assault, robbery
- New Alexandria tree trimmer pleads guilty to fraud
- Westmoreland County adds 5 caseworker positions as child abuse cases increase
- Former Steelers LB Haggans to do time in Westmoreland jail
- IRS scam snares another Westmoreland County resident