Fri Sep 21, 2012, 09:15 PM
rachel1 (538 posts)
After despairing Facebook posts, hostage-taker in Pittsburgh high-rise surrenders
Last edited Fri Sep 21, 2012, 09:22 PM USA/ET - Edit history (1)
Source: Associated Press
PITTSBURGH — Klein Michael Thaxton hadn’t been much of a Facebook devotee. He posted no status updates in two years on the social network. On Friday, though, he surfaced with a jarring post: “i cant take it no more im done bro.”
The 22-year-old Army veteran was on the 16th floor of a downtown Pittsburgh office building at the time, armed with a hammer and kitchen knife and holding a businessman hostage, police said.
He surrendered after more than five hours. Neither he nor the hostage, business owner Charles Breitsman, 58, was injured. But Thaxton’s real-time Facebook updates — coupled with online pleas by his friends to surrender — vividly illustrated the evolving challenges that confront police when social media plays an active role in a crime-in-progress.
In all, Thaxton sent seven messages, many of them despairing and written in disjointed style.
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/after-despairing-facebook-posts-hostage-taker-in-pittsburgh-high-rise-surrenders/2012/09/21/0e49bcb2-0451-11e2-9132-f2750cd65f97_story.html
I'm glad that he's in custody for now.
I also wonder if this was just a publicity stunt.
9 replies, 1652 views
After despairing Facebook posts, hostage-taker in Pittsburgh high-rise surrenders (Original post)
|Mc Mike||Sep 2012||#7|
Response to HuckleB (Reply #1)
Fri Sep 21, 2012, 09:20 PM
rachel1 (538 posts)
2. He randomly chose the target, lack of FB account
Last edited Fri Sep 21, 2012, 09:21 PM USA/ET - Edit history (1)
activity until the hostage taking, increased FB account activity during the hostage taking, no relation to any of the hostages, and other things.
Response to rachel1 (Original post)
Sat Sep 22, 2012, 09:58 AM
Mc Mike (725 posts)
7. Search attempts for C. W. Breitsman info
like client base, industry news stories, etc. resulted in an iecrash for me.
There's a lot of national news coverage from credible sources, which all say the choice of CWB was 'random' and based on ease of access, but I can't get independent info to accept or reject their analysis.
I'm a union construction worker that's been in a ton of downtown Pittsburgh buildings, and I never experience easy access, even after weeks or months of morning check-ins at the same time of day and work-site.
On the 'pub stunt' issue you raised, I don't know how you mean it. Breitsman isn't going out of it's way to get industry puff pieces done, in order to drum up business. After reading a bunch of media coverage, I'm left with no real knowledge of the perpetrator or victim. Just a lot of smoke blown. That seems to be an anti-publicity effort. And the perp is very young to already be a 'vet'.
Response to rachel1 (Original post)
Mon Sep 24, 2012, 11:30 PM
happyslug (10,882 posts)
9. You should have read a Pittsburgh source for this situation...
What the Police Chief reported, on the air was as follows:
1. Thaxton woke up about 3:00 am feeling "Evil" quote from Thaxton. He had been in a 3/4 home in the Beechview section of Pittsburgh. A 3/4 home is a halfway home but the person in the home can look for work, but is NOT allowed to work till his sentence is finished, but is permitted to go out in the community.
More on 3/4 homes, this one is NOT the 3/4 home Thaxton was in:
2. Thaxton then picked up two "Weapons" a hammer and a kitchen knife. He put both into a plastic bag and hung the bag off the handlebars on his bicycle and road his bicycle to downtown Pittsburgh.
3. His route was imaginative. You must understand the Geography of the South Hills of Pittsburgh. South of Downtown Pittsburgh is Mount Washington. Which is a steep cliff. In fact it is so steep, that Pittsburgh became known for its Funiculars (Locally called Inclines). The first goes up a 35% grade 635 feet. A competitor, the Duqusene Incline also survives, but it goes up a 30% grade for 800 feet.
More on the Inclines:
The south slope of Mt Washington is not as bad, but it is longer as you climb down to Saw Mill Run Valley. Saw Mill Run Valley is NOT quite as low as Downtown Pittsburgh, but close. Saw Mill Run heads west into the Ohio floating down from Pittsburgh.
You then have to go up another "Hill" to get to Beechview. Beechview is about the same attitude as Mt Washington but you have no escapement like the one for Mt Washington.
I mention the above for What Thaxton did was take his bicycle to Banksville Road, which is on the West Side of Beechview but in a valley formed by a tributary of Saw Mill Run. He road his bicycle to the Fort Pitt Tunnels, that goes underneath Mt Washington and was stopped by the Maintence crew of the Tunnel and told him he could NOT bike through the tunnel (The tunnel is part of I-279). Thaxton then turned around and entered Saw Mill Run Boulevard, which runs parallel to Saw Mill Run. He took Saw Mill Run Boulevard to the West End Circle, and then cross the West End Bridge, which goes over the Ohio, to Pittsburgh's North Side. Thaxton then biked to one of the "Three Sisters Bridges" across the Allegheny River and entered Downtown Pittsburgh from the north.
The three sisters, for decades they were known as the Sixth, Seventh and Ninth Street bridges (and most people still call them by those names) but over the last 20 or so years they have been given new names, but most people still refer to them as the Sixth, Seventh and Ninth Street bridges. More on the Three sisters:
Once in Downtown Pittsburgh he spotted a Police officer and wanted to hit him with the Hammer to get his gun. HE then saw another officer and thought he might be shot so he gave up on his plan (It appears to be more an idea then anything more). Thaxton then rode to Gateway four and started to eat a Candy bar. He saw women entering the complex without having to go through security, so he entered and went to the 23rd (top) floor but could no enter for it was a secure area, as was the 22nd floor. Thaxton then went down till he came to the 16th floor and saw one man in a office, with an iphone, a computer and a TV. Thaxton thought that was all he wanted and walked in and put a knife to the man's neck. The victim called out to get 911 and all the women in the office left. Thaxton then held the man hostage till the Police managed to talk him to give up the hammer and knife.
Thus Pittsburgh was tied up by a man with a bicycle, a kitchen knife and a hammer for almost five hours. I have to give credit to the Pittsburgh Police, they contained the problem and managed to get him to surrender without anyone having any physical harm. The Man held hostage would have suffered some psychological harm but no one was killed.
Yes, Thaxton did use Social Media, but it appears to have been hindered the Police then it helped, but the real problem was Thaxton himself. Even the Police Chief acknowledge Thaxton was a person in need of psychological help, hopefully he will get it.