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Gun shot killed auto crash victim

| Tuesday, April 23, 2002, 12:00 p.m.

A West View man was shot and mortally wounded before crashing his car Monday morning as he drove through Northview Heights, authorities said.

Joseph Parks, 39, crashed the car into a brick retaining wall in the 600 block of Mt. Pleasant Road around 8:25 a.m., Pittsburgh police Cmdr. Maurita Bryant said.

When paramedics pulled Parks from the 1987 blue Pontiac sedan, police noticed what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the left side, Bryant said. Parks was the only person in the vehicle when police arrived, she said.

Parks was transported to Allegheny General Hospital on the North Side, where he died of a gunshot wound at 11:23 a.m., a hospital spokeswoman said. An autopsy is scheduled for today by the Allegheny County Coroner's Office. Parks' mother, whom authorities would not identify, has been notified of her son's death.

"It's in the initial stages of the investigation," Bryant said. "There are no suspects or witnesses."

A 13-year-old witnessed the accident but not the shooting, according to Michelle Jackson-Washington, a spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh Housing Authority Police.

Parks crashed in a section of Northview Heights Estates, a housing complex operated by the Pittsburgh Housing Authority. Housing Authority police initially responded to the accident and are assisting Pittsburgh police in their investigation.

Evidence at the scene indicates Parks was shot somewhere around the 700 block of Mt. Pleasant Road and drove about a block before crashing, Jackson-Washington said.

When paramedics moved Parks from the vehicle, he was semiconscious and not speaking, Bryant said. She would not reveal whether he had an opportunity to identify his killer or give police details that might help the investigation. Police released no further information about Parks except to say that his mother had been notified.

Bryant said police had no description of the shooter to release.

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