ShareThis Page
Allegheny

Man stabs 5 at Homestead mental health facility; police shoot suspect

| Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, 4:03 p.m.
Cherrell Fulton, 28, of Wlkinsburg (left), a counselor at Turtle Creek Valley Mental Health in Homestead, hugs her aunt Elana Lawson of Swissvale after Fulton escaped harm when a man with a gun and a knife entered the facility Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Cherrell Fulton, 28, of Wlkinsburg (left), a counselor at Turtle Creek Valley Mental Health in Homestead, hugs her aunt Elana Lawson of Swissvale after Fulton escaped harm when a man with a gun and a knife entered the facility Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.
SWAT members wait outside the Turtle Creek Valley Mental Health facility in Homestead after man with a gun and a knife entered the facility Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
SWAT members wait outside the Turtle Creek Valley Mental Health facility in Homestead after man with a gun and a knife entered the facility Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.
Police stand outside the Turtle Creek Valley Mental Health facility in Homestead after man with a gun and a knife entered the facility Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Police stand outside the Turtle Creek Valley Mental Health facility in Homestead after man with a gun and a knife entered the facility Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.

Police fired seven rounds at a man at a Homestead mental health facility Friday after the suspect stabbed five people, leaving one victim in critical condition, an official said.

Dustin Johnson, 38, a former patient at Turtle Creek Valley Mental Health/Mental Retardation Inc. on West Street, returned around 2 p.m. brandishing a pistol and two large kitchen knives, Allegheny County Police Supt. Coleman McDonough said. He is charged with five counts of aggravated assault, five counts of attempted homicide, attempted arson and risking a catastrophe.

McDonough said police cornered Johnson at the end of a long hallway and persuaded him to drop the knives. Three SWAT officers fired at him after he continued to brandish the pistol, which turned out to be a black BB gun with a flashlight mounted on it. McDonough said the pistol resembled a real gun.

The initial 911 caller also reported that Johnson sexually assaulted at least one person, McDonough said. He did not elaborate on that in subsequent press releases and could not be reached for comment later.

Johnson was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery for multiple gunshot wounds, McDonough said. He is recovering in an intensive care unit. The victims also were hospitalized; most were taken to UPMC Mercy in Uptown. Police did not disclose their names, but said all were either employees or residents of the facility. The victim in critical condition, a resident, underwent surgery for stab wounds to the neck. The others were all in stable condition.

Police also said two other people also were taken to hospitals, but they did not suffer physical injuries. Police initially said six people were stabbed.

Cherrell Fulton, 28, of Wilkinsburg said Johnson got off an elevator and walked to a fifth-floor office where she and three other employees were working. She said he pulled out a gun, and she dived under a desk. The fifth floor contains the facility's offices and is open to the public, McDonough said.

Fulton works as a resident adviser at the facility. She said she heard Johnson yelling "You ruined my life!" as he stabbed her three co-workers. McDonough could not say what the motivation was behind the stabbings. Fulton said there were no warning signs.

"He pulled the gun out and he said, 'Cherrell, sit down, I'm not going to hurt you.' At that point, I just crawled under the desk. I literally dove under the desk," Fulton said. "I just closed my eyes because I didn't know if he was going to pull the trigger."

Fulton, who was on the phone with a cousin at the time, told the cousin to call 911.

"I liked him as a person," she said. She said she monitored his medications. "He wasn't a bad individual to me. He was a nice guy."

Fulton would not say why Johnson had been a patient. She said he hadn't been there in about two months and had stayed at the facility for two months prior.

"I'm sorry he felt like he had to do this," she said.

Madasyn Czebiniak and Bob Bauder are Tribune-Review staff writers. Reach them at mczebiniak@tribweb.com and bbauder@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.

click me