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Breaking News

Hostage Negotiators on Scene in Suburban Pittsburgh

Aired March 1, 2000 - 1:30 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We rejoin our affiliate, WPXI from Pittsburgh, we're following the SWAT team that has the building surrounded where a gunman is believed holed up with some hostages. We just saw some police members enter a building. So, we are going to rejoin WPXI and get the latest information.

TAMMY FRECK, WILKINS HOUSE: ... you know, keep things together until the police give us the right directions.

UNIDENTIFIED WPXI ANCHOR: Have things been pretty calm inside the building? Obviously, this is not something you have to handle on a daily basis.

FRECK: No, I wouldn't call this a typical day. Yes, I'd say people are pretty calm at this point, but, you know what, it's a scary thing, it really is.

WPXI ANCHOR: With all the things that have happened in the past around the country as far as shootings as concern, obviously you probably never thought that you would be involved, or even nearby anything like this.

FRECK: No, I can't say that that ever crossed my mind, no.

WPXI ANCHOR: All right, thank you. That's Tammy Freck, she's on the fourth floor of the Wilkins House, which is sort of connected to the Penn-West office building complex. They have been told at that particular location. She is inside an office with about 20 or so other people. They're being told not to move, keep the doors locked and wait until you hear from the police department, as far as what to do at this particular point.

Allen Jennings (ph), also one of our many crews that we have on the scene at this particular point. We're going to check within him in just a moment.

But, first, let me update you on a phone call, a frightening phone call we had a little bit earlier with someone who was actually in the Penn-West office building, as we look at several police officers now moving away from the building, now, down the sidewalk there.

You can see the Penn-West building entrance, one of the entrances to this is a pretty sizable complex. A lot of building space there, not a small building. So, obviously, a lot of room for a SWAT team or police to have to cover.

I talked with Debbie Shultman (ph) a little bit earlier today. She was on the phone, she was in the building at the time. We only had a brief conversation because the police at that point came in to her office and said, it's time to go, it's time to evacuate. And as you saw earlier from some of the footage that we showed you, of people being evacuated under the guard of the SWAT team, as they tried to flea that area and get away from there. And, obviously, it appears that some of the strategy now is to keep as many people in place, not have them walking around in their offices. As we heard just a moment ago from Tammy Freck on the fourth floor at the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force office that she's been told to stay put.

Allen Jennings, also on the scene along with numerous other crews from Channel 11, and Allen, what do you know at this point?

ALLEN JENNING, WPXI REPORTER: Bob, I can tell you that a couple of minutes ago, we just talked to security guard Jeff Clark (ph), who works for Delta properties. They are the owners of the Woodside Garden Apartments, here on Wood Street in Wilkinsburg. They tell me that the suspect shot a maintenance worker at point-blank range in the neck early this morning, somewhere around 10:30. This maintenance worker was repairing a door on an apartment inside the Woodside Garden apartments, when the suspect pulled the gun and shot him, again, point-blank range right in the neck.

We understand that this maintenance worker has been transported to a local hospital. We don't know which one yet. He is in critical condition, that's what we're told, that's only a report at this moment. We have not confirmed that with the hospital. But, again, Jeff Clark, security guard, said this...

WPXI ANCHOR: All right, Allen. Thank you.

JENNINGS: ... this is where it started.

WPXI ANCHOR: All right, thanks you very much, Allen, for that report confirming pretty much what Amy Marcincowitz (ph) had told us earlier, however, we weren't really sure, whether or not an employee had been shot at the scene. But, now, we're hearing that a maintenance worker had been shot point-blank range in the neck and has been taken to a hospital.

Let's take you now to Presby Hospital (ph), where Dr. Mike Rosen is standing by live. He is covering that angle for us, that we know at least four victims were there earlier this afternoon. What's the status now, Mike?

DR. MIKE ROSEN: That's right, Bob. It's pretty much the same thing. There's four victims, they are all still listed as critical. There's one other victim, a male victim, he has been sent over to Mercy Hospital. We don't know anything else other than that.

We are still waiting for more information. We're waiting for a physician to come out. We're expecting that in just a few minutes to discuss with us what's been going on inside the emergency room. Again, all these victims are critical, and as we discussed earlier, that's pretty much...

ALLEN: You're listening to WPXI, CNN's affiliate in Pittsburgh, bringing us the latest on this shooting there this morning. As we just heard, this shooting began in an apartment building when the suspect shot a maintenance worker, that person's in critical. Four other people are in critical that were shot in and around that area. And, now, police have surrounded an office building where this man is believed to be possibly holding hostages. We'll continue to following developments.

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