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Man who stabbed 5 at Homestead mental health facility pleads guilty but mentally ill

Megan Guza
| Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, 3:57 p.m.
Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson

A man who stabbed five people in a Homestead mental health facility after trying to set the building ablaze pleaded guilty but mentally ill Thursday in front of an Allegheny County judge.

Dustin Johnson, 40, pleaded guilty to five counts each of attempted homicide and aggravated assault, as well as one count of arson and risking a catastrophe.

Witnesses told police Johnson walked into the Turtle Creek Valley Mental Health facility about 2 p.m. Nov. 11, 2016, brandishing a gun in one hand and a knife in the other, according to the original criminal complaint filed against him.

Police said Johnson went to the fifth floor, where he was previously a resident, and stabbed and slashed five people, with most victims sustained wounds to their head and neck. One person was injured critically, but all survived.

Negotiations failed, and Johnson became agitated when SWAT officers arrived, according to police. He was holding what appeared to be a black handgun, which he turned on police. Officers opened fire, injuring Johnson.

The handgun turned out to be a CO2-powered air gun with a flashlight mounted on it, though it had no orange tip or other markings indicating it was not a real firearm, police wrote.

Police later found a total of four knives near where Johnson had been wounded, and accelerant poured in the elevator led them to believe he’d intended to fire to the building, according to the complaint.

Sentencing for Johnson is set for Jan. 5.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.

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