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Police: Sheriff shoots suspect in Pittsburgh Family Dollar robbery, possibly connected to Penn Hills heist | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

Police: Sheriff shoots suspect in Pittsburgh Family Dollar robbery, possibly connected to Penn Hills heist

Michael DiVittorio
| Friday, January 18, 2019 9:56 p.m
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Pittsburgh police investigate a robbery Friday night at the Family Dollar store along Frankstown Road.
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Pittsburgh police investigate a robbery Friday night at the Family Dollar store along Frankstown Road.

An Allegheny County deputy sheriff shot a robbery suspect during a gun battle inside a Family Dollar store in Pittsburgh’s East Hills neighborhood Friday night, a little more than an hour after the Penn Hills Family Dollar was robbed.

Pittsburgh Police Cmdr. Mike Pilyih said the county sheriffs and Pittsburgh police rushed to the East Hills Family Dollar after receiving information that armed men were entering the store, which is along Frankstown Road. The incident took place at about 9:30 p.m.

“(Pittsburgh) Police responded and Allegheny County sheriff’s deputies responded. They arrived very quickly,” Pilyih said. “They ran into the store.

“They immediately took gunfire from an armed actor in the store. They fired back. There was an exchange of gunfire. The actor was struck.”

Pilyih said he couldn’t comment about whether there was more than one robber.

“That whole investigation is in its infancy right now,” he said late Friday.

Pilyih couldn’t confirm that a robbery was in progress when police arrived or if it was related to the robbery of a Family Dollar at Penn Hills earlier Friday night.

Police would say only that the two are “possibly connected.”

Pittsburgh Public Safety spokesman Chris Togneri said the man was taken to a hospital in critical condition. According to police radio transmissions, the man was shot in the leg and damaged a critical artery.

Although there were customers and employees there, no one else was shot.

A large, irregular hole was blow out of the safety glass in a display window at the front of the store.

A Pittsburgh officer was injured by broken glass while treating the robbery suspect’s gunshot wound.

A deputy sheriff also was treated for a thumb injury suffered during the incident but Pilyih said he would be OK.

Pilyih did not identify the suspect, deputy or police officer.

Both robberies occurred at Family Dollar stores, both on Frankstown Road. The East Hills store is about 2 miles away from the Penn Hills location.

The Penn Hills robbery

Penn Hills police said a man robbed that store, at 10730 Frankstown, at about 8:15 p.m. Friday and got away.

Penn Hills Police Chief Howard Burton said officers were looking for a thin, black man about 6-feet 2-inches tall.

He was wearing a black jacket over a navy blue hooded sweatshirt. The man wore black rimmed glasses and Nike-brand boots.

The suspect had tattoos of numbers on his fingers and a tattoo above an eyebrow.

Police said he brandished a silver-and-black handgun before getting money in a bag and leaving. He was last seen fleeing along Frankstown Road.

Burton said a family and at least two employees were in the store. No one was injured.

Attempts to reach Burton after the Pittsburgh Family Dollar robbery to determine whether that suspect is the one his department is seeking were unsuccessful.

Police ask that anyone with information call Penn Hills or Allegheny County Police.

Call Penn Hills police at 412-342-1188. Facebook: PennHillsPolice. Tweet: @PennHillsPolice. County police can be contacted at 911.


Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio. Staff writer Chuck Biedka contributed to this report.


Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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