Two Dead in Ohio Township Shooting
Police say an Ohio Township man was shot and killed as he walked to his car, right outside his home. The killer later died at the scene. He was shot at by a police officer after he raised his gun, but it’s not clear if he shot himself or if the officer’s bullet killed him.
The victim was identified as James Clayton Westover, and the killer as Lex Miller of Pittsburgh. Miller was 62.
Allegheny County police say a call came in about the shooting at 5:30 in the morning. Relatives inside the home, some of whom were children, called 911. A neighbor also called.
Miller was on the scene when police arrived, dressed in black and carrying a gun. He refused multiple commands by police to put his weapon down. At that point, he lifted it to fire, and one of the officers shot at him. He was pronounced dead at the scene, having fallen to the ground.
Miller’s cause and manner of death will be determined by the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office.
Mr. Westover was found by police in his driveway. He was pronounced dead at the scene, as well, from gunshot wounds.
There is no clear relationship between the two men.
Family members declined to comment on the shooting. Neighbors did speak to reporters, the Post-Gazette says. One neighbor heard three gunshots, with a beat between each shot. Another neighbor called Westover “a very nice guy” and said he couldn’t imagine anyone being angry at the man.
A pickup truck was towed from the scene at 11 a.m. The driver’s side window had several bullet holes in it.
Mr. Westover’s criminal history was clean, except for a misdemeanor driving under the influence charge in 1991.
The shooting happened on Rebecca Drive, which is near the Avonworth middle and high schools. The school district was put on a two-hour delay because of the police activity.
Authorities are asking anyone with information about the shooting to contact the Allegheny County Police tip line at 1-833-ALL TIPS (1-833-255-8477), and remind the public that callers can phone tips in anonymously.
One of Westover’s neighbors was quoted as saying, “It’s a damn shame this happened.” He’s correct. This event has changed forever the lives of Mr. Westover’s relatives who were inside his home when the shooting happened. It will do the same to the family of Mr. Miller.
Even the police officers who responded to the call will be forever changed. It’s unclear at this point whose bullet killed Miller, but the cop who shot will have to deal with the knowledge that it might have been him who killed the man. Even if it turns out to be a suicide, watching a man be shot dead is traumatizing. The police don’t get enough love for all that they have to deal with, in my opinion.
What happens if it turns out that it was the cop’s shot that killed Mr. Miller? In that case, there will be an investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police. The cop will be put on administrative leave during the investigation. Further steps will be taken or not, depending upon his culpability in the act.
Update June 6, 2019:
It turns out this was a murder-suicide. The victim was a former friend of the shooter, and had helped the shooter with jobs and other things many times in the past. They seem to have met at Christ Church at Grove Farm.
Police have no motive for the killing, but as of April 5, 2018, a day or two after the event, were looking for one.
Thankfully, the officer who shot at the killer was exonerated. His bullet missed. He had been on administrative leave with pay while the incident was investigated.
The killer’s only wound was a self-inflicted one to the head.
While we don’t have all the details of the case, or the facts behind the killer’s motives, it’s heartening to know that it wasn’t some random act.