Updated: Armed Man Klein Michael Thaxon Takes Hostage In Pittsburgh Office Building, Posting Updates To Facebook
Klein Michael Thaxon, a man who has taken a hostage inside a downtown Pittsburgh high-rise, is posting Facebook updates as police try to negotiate the release of the man he’s holding. Check out the developing details and photos here…
PITTSBURGH (AP) — 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 8am, armed with a hammer and kitchen knife, and holding a businessman hostage, police said.
He surrendered after more than five hours. around 2pm. 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.
MailOnline — Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper identified the suspect as 22-year-old Klein Michael Thaxton. On his Facebook page, Thaxton says he’s tired of the life he’s lived and has ‘lost everything.’ Police negotiators were in contact with Thaxton after he took the hostage shortly after 8am on the 16th floor of Three Gateway Center, one of six office buildings that dominate the city skyline, Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper said.
Harper described the suspect as ‘ex-military.’ He said no injuries had been reported and no shots had been fired. A worker on the same floor said the hostage-taking unfolded inside the offices of CW Breitsman Associates, a firm that runs employee-benefits programs. This information has since been confirmed by Harper, according to CBS. The chief said the man isn’t an employee at the firm. He said the suspect was cooperating with negotiators and is ‘not being irrational.’
Harper told reporters:
‘No one knows why he’s doing this except him. His demeanor is, from what I understand, relatively calm, and he’s sitting there talking to the negotiator at this time.’
Kathi Dvorak, an administrative assistant at AXA Advisors, said a woman ran into her office yelling for someone to call 911. A second woman ran in and said her office was being robbed.
Police arrived soon after and began evacuating the building. Police Chief Harper said during a press conference there was no immediate motive, nor was it known what weapons, if any, Thaxton had.
He claimed to have a bomb, but that has not been independently confirmed, the chief said.
‘We are negotiating with that individual. We are willing to talk as long as it takes to resolve this in a safe and orderly fashion.’
According to some reports, the 22-year-old’s mother was seen entering the building accompanied by police.
Several hundred people milled around about a half-block from the 24-story building after police evacuated it. A light rail stop nearby was closed and at least 20 emergency vehicles surrounded the building.
Joel Kirchartz, a 28-year-old web developer who works on the 17th floor, said he and his co-workers looked out the windows Friday morning and ‘a bunch of cops pulled up with all sorts of sirens going; there must have been 20 of them.’ He said he went downstairs to find out what was happening and by the time he got outside, police had sealed the building.
Another worker, Sarah Vereb, said she was at her desk when she was ordered to leave the building shortly after a friend called to report that she wasn’t being allowed up from the lobby. Hundreds of workers walked down the stairwell. Vereb said the exodus was orderly and ‘very, very quiet.’
A phone message left for the building’s Santa Monica, California-based ownership group was not immediately returned. The building complex management office confirmed the evacuation and said it was working with police.