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Pittsburgh Hostage-Taker Surrenders to Police After Standoff


Alleged suspect's Facebook page... Him: "fake mafu*az, thats the shyt i dnt like!" Friends: "Klein jus stop an pray u have family that loves u your mom is on tv crying..." ...Facebook page shut down Update: Suspect surrenders to police --

Update III: Police say Klein Michael Thaxton has surrendered and his hostage is OK. See below.

Update II: The Facebook page belonging to suspect Klein Michael Thaxton has been shut down.

The page was shut down shortly after 1 p.m., according to the Associated Press.

Update I: KDKA-TV has reported the suspect is being identified as 22-year-old Klein Michael Thaxton.

A Facebook page appearing to belong to Thaxton shows that he has been posting during the standoff. (Content warning -- strong language):

  • i cant take it no more im done bro
  • how this ends is up to yall bro real shyt
  • welln pops youll never have to woryy about me again you'll nevr need to by me anything no need to ever waste ur hard earned money on me. i'll live n jail you dnt want me around anymore thats kool bye...i love u assata sis
  • this life im livn rite now i dnt want anymore ive lost everything and i aint gettn it back instead of walkn around all broke n shyt while n---as stunt on me n shyt
  • stop postn silly shyt bruh i aint laughin rite now n---a!

  • fake mafukaz, thats the shyt i dnt like!

Family and friends have been pleading with him through Facebook to resolve the situation safely and peacefully:

  • "Aye man I just saw your mom, she's really upset man, think about the people around you that do care about you yo, think about you mom, and what she's going through."
  • "Klein jus stop an pray u have family that loves u your mom is on tv crying if u need to talk jus call me it's not worth it u are going to be ok u always been a good person don't let people get to u."

Police have said Thaxton has a military background; a photo he posted on Facebook depicts President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A suicidal man who held a businessman hostage inside a downtown Pittsburgh office building for more than five hours Friday, posting Facebook updates during the standoff, surrendered to authorities without incident, police said.

Klein Michael Thaxton, 22, surrendered just before 2 p.m., and the man he took hostage was unhurt, Police Chief Nathan Harper said.

The hostage-taking on the 16th floor of Three Gateway Center prompted an evacuation while Thaxton wrote on Facebook that had "lost everything" and that people didn't have to worry about him anymore.

His friends responded by urging him to end the situation peacefully, including one who asked him to think of his mother.

A police spokeswoman identified the hostage as Charles Breitsman, owner of CW Breitsman Associates. The firm runs employee-benefits programs, but it wasn't immediately clear why he was targeted.

"(Thaxton) is a sick young man and we do need to take measures to see he is taken care of as well," police spokeswoman Diane Richard said.

Police asked Facebook to take down Thaxton's page early in the afternoon in hopes of steering all of his attention to negotiations.

The Facebook exchanges had the potential to both help and harm the negotiations, Harper said. It's helpful that Thaxton can see "that people are concerned about his well-being," Harper said, but "it is a distraction for negotiating."

A worker on the 16th floor described a woman running into her office yelling for someone to call 911. Kathi Dvorak, an administrative assistant at AXA Advisors, said a second woman ran in and said her office was being robbed.

Harper had described the hostage-taker as having a military background but didn't elaborate.

Thaxton has a criminal record that includes a guilty plea to robbery earlier this year and a minimum six-month jail sentence.

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, Calif.-based ownership group was not immediately returned. The building complex management office confirmed the evacuation and said it was working with police.

Earlier post below:


Emergency crews have responded to a hostage situation in downtown Pittsburgh's Gateway Center.

A person inside of the building told Channel 11 News that a man armed with a gun and at least two duffel bags with unknown contents is on the 16th floor. Initial reports indicated that the man said he had explosives in the bags.

Sources said the man pulled out the gun around 8:20 a.m.

Target 11 investigator Rick Earle reported that the gunman may be a disgruntled employee. Sources told Earle that the man may have one female hostage inside of a room on the 16th floor.

A security guard told Earle that he overheard a female say, "Don’t come in here. You will get hurt." The guard said he then called police. It is still not known if police negotiators have been in contact with the suspected gunman.

The 16th floor has been placed on lockdown and the rest of the building has been evacuated. Bomb sniffing dogs have been sent into the building.


According to initial reports, the person being held hostage may be the owner or the manager of the fund, which is run out of Suite 1625 inside Gateway Three.

According to Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper, a man walked in and started asking questions just before it all started.

Police say the suspect is holed up in an inner office of the suite.

Chief Harper says no shots have been fired and no one has been hurt. Officials are in communication with the suspect and the situation is ongoing.

Chief Harper say they want to contain the area, make sure others are safe and make sure on one else is in harm’s way.

Witnesses reported seeing the suspect with two bags and was waving something, possibly a weapon, around.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

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