Homicide charges withdrawn in New Year's Eve shooting

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The homicide charges were withdrawn today against a man accused of using an AK-47 to fatally shoot another man at a New Year's Eve party in Arlington.

The charges were withdrawn after a key witness failed to appear at a preliminary hearing for Dana Johnson, said Mike Manko, a spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney's office.

Mr. Johnson, 25, of Carrick was charged with homicide in connection with the death of 23-year-old Donald Russell of Bethel Park.

Mr. Russell was shot about 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2011, during a party in the 300 block of Sterling Street.

Witnesses told police that Mr. Johnson, armed with an AK-47, pulled a gun out of his jacket and began waving it in the air while another man, armed with a pistol, screamed racial slurs and said, "You know why we came here," according to an affidavit of probable cause.

They also told police they saw Mr. Johnson and the other man confront Mr. Russell, who resisted their efforts to hand over any of his belongings to them. They said they saw Mr. Johnson aim the AK-47 at Mr. Russell's chest, ran out of the room and then heard gunshots, according to the affidavit.

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Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil.


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