- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 2, 2000

WILKINSBURG, Pa. A man who told a witness he would "kill all white people" went on a shooting spree in a Pittsburgh suburb yesterday that left two persons dead and three more critically wounded.

Ronald "Dante" Taylor, 39, was arrested after police said he killed a maintenance worker, set his apartment on fire, went on a lethal rampage at two fast-food restaurants, and then kept police at bay for about two hours while he held hostage wheelchair-bound elderly people at a senior center.

A woman who lived nearby told CNN the suspect armed with a .22-caliber pistol walked into her apartment before the shooting occurred and told her, "Well, I'm not gonna hurt any black people, I'm gonna kill all white people."

All five shooting victims were white males, Wilkinsburg Police Chief Gerald Brewer said.

The killings began when the suspect got into an argument with maintenance workers at Woodside Apartments, where he lived.

Witnesses said the gunman was angry that the workers had not repaired the door of his apartment, which he had broken several days earlier because he lost his keys.

Mr. Taylor then fatally shot a maintenance worker, the victim's co-worker said. "He said, 'You're all white trash, racist pigs,' " maintenance worker John DeWitt told the Associated Press.

Four more persons were shot at a Burger King and a McDonald's restaurant near the apartment.

Chief Brewer said police were called to a hospital near the McDonald's for a report of a gunshot victim. He said officers were told the shooter was at Woodside Apartments and, when police arrived, they found the man's apartment engulfed in flames.

The Allegheny County coroner's office said the two dead were John Kroll, 55, and Joseph Healy, 71. Only one of the other victims, Richard Clinger, was identified.

Mr. Clinger was shot while sitting in his van in the McDonald's parking lot, his stepdaughter said.

"Me and my stepfather were sitting in the truck, and this guy just walked up and started shooting," said Candy Zambo, who was unhurt. "I thought maybe he was going to ask for directions or something."

After shooting Mr. Clinger, the gunman "just turned and walked into McDonald's," Miss Zambo said. Two other victims were shot at McDonald's, Fox News reported, before the suspect went to the Burger King next door and shot his fifth victim.

Chief Brewer said his officers saw Mr. Taylor running away from the restaurants and chased him into a nearby building that houses a daycare center and a senior hospice. Mr. Taylor shot at officers twice, Mr. Brewer said, but police never returned fire.

The shooting spree, which began about 11:15 a.m. yesterday, angered residents of Wilkinsburg, a blue-collar suburban community of 21,000 people about 9 miles east of Pittsburgh.

"Wilkinsburg was finally starting to make a comeback," said nursing home administrator Roy Dansro, who was trapped inside the building during the suspect's standoff with police. The area's steel industry had suffered economically in recent years.

Kate Luxemburg, who operates a local news Web site in the community, told Fox News she blamed the federal government's Section 8 low-income housing program for making the city "shabby" by moving poor residents from Pittsburgh to Wilkinsburg.

"This used to be a very genteel community it was called the 'City of Churches,' " she said. "Now it is the city of Section 8 certificates. It went from a bedroom community to a backwater community."

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