More security visible at 3 Gateway Center

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It was mostly business as usual at 3 Gateway Center in Downtown Pittsburgh this morning, the first work day after Friday's hostage standoff.

Employees streamed into the front entrance of the building without any additional security screening. A rear entrance that workers said usually is open was not.

"There were tons of security guards everywhere," said Jill Hanson of Ross, who works at the accounting firm Grossman Yanak & Ford LLP. She said she entered as usual this morning without being required to show identification.

"You still don't have to check in or sign in but there's a lot more (security) people," said James Gross of Bethel Park, as he exited along with co-worker Andrew Giallonardo of the South Side to attend a conference elsewhere. Both also work at the Grossman firm.

"I personally thought there would be more (security measures)," Mr. Gross said. "If someone wanted to walk in and was dressed nice you still wouldn't have a clue."

Asked whether she thought tighter security procedures were needed, Ms. Hanson said, "I think we'll just have to wait and see. I trust the people in charge are making wise decisions. I know they'll keep me safe."

Ms. Hanson was one of scores of workers who were evacuated Friday when a man identified by police as Klein Michael Thaxson, armed with a hammer and knife, entered the building and took a hostage on the 16th floor. He surrendered peacefully after about six hours of keeping police at bay and is in jail facing multiple charges.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Debra Donley, general manager of Hertz Gateway Center LP, said: "Gateway Center was designed over 50 years ago to reflect the openness of the Pittsburgh community, and our goal is to balance the safety of our tenants with their interest in enjoying this type of environment."We recognize that Friday's incident caused a lot of distress to the community. To ensure that our tenants and their guests maintain confidence in the safety of our environment, we have increased security in our buildings and will conduct a thorough review of our systems and make any necessary changes." neigh_city - breaking - region

Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868.


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