WPXI: Gunman Holding Hostage in Gateway Center ID’d; Negotiations Under Way
September 21, 2012 at 1:07 PM by Gant Team
PITTSBURGH — Emergency crews have responded to a hostage situation in downtown Pittsburgh’s Gateway Center.
A person inside of the building told Channel 11 News that a man armed with a gun and at least two duffle bags with unknown contents is on the 16th floor. Initial reports indicated that the man said he had explosives in the bags.
Harper said the man is a 22-year-old ex-military personal who is not related to anyone in the office. Channel 11′s Cara Sapida reported that the man has been identified as Kleine Michael Thaxton, of Pittsburgh.
Sources said the man pulled out the gun around 8:20 a.m. A security guard told Target 11 investigator Rick Earle that he overheard a female say, “Don’t come in here. You will get hurt.” The guard said he then called police.
“Situation right now, it is a hostage situation on the 16th floor. We have a black male that is holding two or possibly one person hostage. We are negotiating with that person right now. It is some type of investment firm,” said Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper. “No one has been hurt at this time. There have been no shots fired at this time. The individual walked in to the investment office and started asking questions.”
Channel 11 News has learned that the office where the situation is happening handles union matters and pensions.
Just before 11 a.m. Harper said the gunman’s mother was brought into Gateway Center 3 to possibly help with negotiations. Harper said the situation has been contained to one suite on the 16th floor and it is not clear what other weapons, if any, the gunman may have. Police said the hostage has not been injured.
The 16th floor has been placed on lockdown and the rest of the building has been evacuated. Bomb sniffing dogs have been sent into the building.
Roads surrounding Gateway Center have been shut down as police and SWAT officials investigate. The Gateway T stop has been shut down and Port Authority buses in and around the area are being diverted.
Pittsburgh Public Schools officials said no schools have been placed on lockdown.