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Police search for Larimer ambush shooter

| Friday, June 29, 2007, 12:00 p.m.

The shooting death of a Larimer bakery employee outside his workplace might be connected to his criminal past, Pittsburgh police said Thursday.

A man dressed as a construction worker shot Floyd Johnson Jr. outside Stagno's Bakery as he left work at about 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Witnesses told investigators the unknown shooter was hanging around outside the bakery at the intersection of Auburn and Lowell streets and approached Johnson as he walked to his car, police Lt. Daniel Herrmann said.

Johnson, 26, of East Liberty, was shot several times in the chest. He tried to run, but the gunman chased and stood over him, continuing to fire as he fell to the ground.

The gunman walked away after the shooting, witnesses told police. Johnson died after surgery at UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland.

Court records show Johnson had arrests dating to 1999. He pleaded guilty in 2003 to several charges, including drug offenses, aggravated assault, resisting arrest and eluding police.

Carolyn Johnson, of East liberty, said her son began working at the bakery about four months ago and was trying to "turn his life around" after his past troubles.

"He had a strong heart and he was a great son and a great brother," she said. "Everybody loved him."

Detectives have a few suspects, but made no arrests as of yesterday afternoon, Herrmann said. Investigators canvassed the crime scene again and re-interviewed witnesses, he said.

Herrmann noted a recent increase in slayings in which gunmen continue to shoot victims as they fall, but police don't think there's a connection between this shooting and a similar ambush killing on a busy Downtown street in April that left another man dead.

"We're not connecting or associating these cases," Herrmann said. "We think Floyd Johnson was a target, and whoever was going to kill him was going to get him one way or another. His shooting may be from something he did in his past, or something he's done since he got out of jail. We're trying to connect the pieces."

Witnesses described the gunman as a muscular black man about 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing about 220 pounds. He wore jeans, an orange construction vest and a yellow and green hard hat.

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