Suspect, 19, dies after jumping into river after Downtown chase

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A suspect in a carjacking died after he jumped into the Allegheny River after a police pursuit Wednesday night that weaved through Downtown Pittsburgh.

The suspect was identified as David Thomas, 19, of the North Side. He was pronounced dead at 10:12 p.m. at Allegheny General Hospital.

Commander Eric Holmes with the city's Zone 2 station in the Hill District said narcotics and vice detectives spotted a gray Ford Taurus that was taken Monday night during a carjacking on 39th Street in Lawrenceville and began pursuing it as it drove on Liberty Avenue toward Downtown about 8:40 p.m.

Officers from the city's Zone 2 station and Zone 1 station on the North Side joined in the chase as it weaved through Downtown.

Mr. Thomas, the driver of the stolen car, turned the wrong way down Fort Duquesne Boulevard and crashed with another car near the intersection with Stanwix Street.

Witnesses said the driver ran toward a wall, jumped over it and landed on a construction trailer sitting on the 10th Street Bypass. He dropped a gun before he jumped into the Allegheny River.

River Rescue divers pulled Mr. Thomas from the water and transported him in critical condition to Allegheny General Hospital, where he died, the commander said.

Commander Holmes said two other males, whose ages he did not know, were in the car and were transported to a local hospital to receive treatment. One of those men was in wheelchair. Police intend to interview those men to determine whether they were involved in the carjacking.

The commander said one person in the car that was struck on Fort Duquesne Boulevard had minor injuries.

Homicide detectives are aiding in the investigation.

"You don't see this every day," the commander said.

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Liz Navratil:, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil. Staff writer Moriah Balingit contributed. First Published November 8, 2012 4:00 AM


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