Archive for January 22nd, 2011

Pittsburgh, PA Police: Couple Extinguishes Fire; Husband Found Dead In Bathroom Hours Later

January 22, 2011

Fire, Death At Sheraden Home Under Investigation


SHERADEN, Pa. — Pittsburgh police are investigating the death of a man found unconscious by his wife in an upstairs bathtub of their Sheraden home.

Police said Ronald Baker, 55, was pronounced dead by paramedics Friday morning after being called to the home in the 1200 block of Hillsboro Street.

According to investigators, Baker and his wife, who had been married 10 years, did not call police when an artificial Christmas tree fire started in their bedroom at 3 a.m.

Police said the couple put out the fire on their own before going back to bed, and when the woman woke up around noon, she found her husband unresponsive in the bathroom.

“After they discovered the fire and they were able to, what they believed to have successfully extinguish the fire, we believe it was his decision not to call the fire department at that time and his decision to clean up the residence,” said Pittsburgh Police Lt. Kevin Kraus.

Police said the Baker’s 49-year-old wife, Ronnie, is also being treated for injuries she suffered from the fire.

She was last reported to be in stable condition at UPMC Mercy hospital, according to police.

Police said the investigation into the Baker’s death is ongoing pending the outcome of an autopsy by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office.

“It was a shock. I was just sitting at home and I got the phone call and it was like, ‘What?'” said relative J.R. Black.

Intruder Shot, But Homeowner Charged After Police Respond

January 22, 2011

Drug Operation Found In Basement Of New Castle Home, Police Say


NEW CASTLE, Pa. — Police said a New Castle homeowner who shot an intruder was himself charged — and not the intruder — after responding officers found a marijuana-growing operation in his basement.

 WTAE Channel 4’s Ashlie Hardway reported that the shooting happened just before 6 p.m. Wednesday at an apartment on Quest Street.

 “There was ambulance, cops, everywhere. This whole street was lined up with cops and everything,” neighbor David McLaren said.

 Police said they arrived to find that Christopher Donofrio, 25, had been shot several times in the face and torso. He was flown to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown, Ohio.

 Police said it appeared that Donofrio broke a window to get into the home and went toward the resident, Bradley Walker, with a hatchet and folding knife, and was then shot by Walker.

 “Violence doesn’t solve anything, you know? Over a couple hundred bucks — it’s ridiculous,” neighbor John Salomon said.

 “I don’t blame him at all,” McLaren said. “I mean, I believe in self-defense.”

 Officers were conducting a “protective sweep” of the home when they saw the drugs in the basement, according to a statement from Police Chief Tom Sansone’s office.

 Thirty marijuana plants were seized with a search warrant, along with grow lights, four SKS-type rifles and ammunition, police said.

 Walker, 41, was charged with manufacture of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, police said.

 Police continue to investigate the shooting and have not filed any charges related to it.

 Police said Walker and Donofrio “are known to each other” but did not elaborate.

 A man who identified himself as Donofrio’s roommate told Hardway that the shooter is Donofrio’s landlord who lives next door, and neighbors said the landlord is experienced in martial arts.