Police Have a Suspect in Pittsburgh Cookout Massacre

Though details are still vague
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 7, 2016 3:03 PM CDT
Police Have a Suspect in Pittsburgh Cookout Massacre
In this March 9, 2016 file photo, police investigate the scene after a deadly shooting in Wilkinsburg, Pa.   (Michael Henninger/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP, File) /Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

A Pittsburgh man arrested a third time on drug and weapons charges stemming from a police search three years ago is a suspect in a cookout ambush last month that killed five adults and an unborn child, a detective testified Thursday. Allegheny County Detective Steve Hitchings testified at a bond hearing that Robert Thomas is a suspect in the March 9 cookout shootings in Wilkinsburg and has been told he's a suspect, KDKA-TV first reported Thursday. Common Pleas Judge David Cashman agreed with the prosecution and found that Thomas was a danger to the community and a flight risk and revoked his bond, meaning Thomas will be jailed while the drug charges are pending. Hitchings' testimony was the first time any law enforcement official has named a suspect in the cookout shootings, the AP reports.

The 27-year-old Thomas and three other people were arrested Wednesday night on drug and weapons charges stemming from the search of a home in Wilkinsburg in February 2013. All four were questioned about the cookout shootings, but they haven't been charged in it. Defense attorney Casey White said he's not sure why Thomas is being questioned or called a suspect in the killings. "I can't really comment on the specifics of what the commonwealth's investigation is," White told the AP. "I just know my client is innocent of any wrongdoing as to the homicides that occurred on March 9 of this year." No one's been charged with the shootings and, except for vague references that the shooting might stem from bad blood involving unspecified individuals from the nearby Homewood neighborhood, authorities haven't discussed a motive. Click for more on the recent arrests. (More Pittsburgh stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.