Downtown Police Chase Suspect Identified
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A high-speed chase through the streets of downtown Pittsburgh took a tragic turn Wednesday night.
A man jumped into the Allegheny River to elude police and was pronounced dead a short time later.
Details about how those events unfolded were released Thursday morning.
Pittsburgh Police said the incident began as a carjacking, which turned into a high-speed pursuit and then a foot chase.
However, it would end with one of the suspects being pulled from the river.
“The initial pursuit [was] started by narcotics and Vice detectives,” Pittsburgh Police Cmdr. Eric Holmes said.
Officers began to tail a car they thought was stolen on Liberty Avenue.
“Two black males carjacked a gray Taurus in Lawrenceville – 39th and Mentwood Streets about 8 p.m. on Monday,” Cmdr. Holmes said.
The suspect’s vehicle took off and was eventually followed by a parade of Pittsburgh Police cruisers.
“Just saw cop after cop after cop passing through the area,” Brent Cottner said.
However, the car chase came to a crashing end.
“The actor’s vehicle wrecked into a black vehicle on Fort Duquesne and Stanwix Street,” Cmdr. Holmes said. “The driver of the vehicle – the actor’s vehicle – fled from the scene, jumped over the retaining wall on Fort Duquesne Boulevard. There was a construction trailer there due to the construction on the 10th Street Bypass.”
Witnesses also realized that there was some action going on in the Allegheny River as well.
“During his leaping over the wall and onto a trailer, a gun was dropped. He subsequently ran across the 10th Street Bypass and jumped in the Allegheny River,” Cmdr. Holmes said. “River Rescue was called and subsequently was able to get the actor out of the Allegheny River. He was transported to Allegheny General Hospital and my understanding is he passed away at the hospital.”
The victim who died has been identified as David Thomas, 19, of the North Side.
The two other individuals in the suspect’s vehicle were detained. Police have identified them as Antoine Leonard and Anthony Leonard, both 20 and from East Liberty.
According to police, Antoine Leonard was arrested and charged with firearms not to be carried without a license; and Anthony Leonard was cited by summons and id facing charges of criminal mischief and resisting arrest.
The motorist whose car was struck was treated for minor injuries.
Thomas’s exact cause of death has been ruled as drowning.