Man facing charges in girlfriend's shooting

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A Larimer man changed his story numerous times during the 40 minutes Pittsburgh detectives interviewed him Friday morning about his girlfriend's shooting at a hotel near PNC Park, according to court documents.

Police said Billy Long, 68, called 911 about 3:30 a.m. and reported that his 50-year-old girlfriend, Dawn Simmons, shot herself inside Room 804 of the Residence Inn on General Robinson Street.

Inside an interview room at the bureau's North Side headquarters about 21/2 hours after the shooting, Mr. Long told detectives first that he was in the bathroom preparing a bath for Ms. Simmons when he heard a gunshot, according to a criminal complaint. A few minutes later, Mr. Long told a sergeant he "accidentally shot Simmons with a revolver after telling her that he would unload the weapon for her," detectives wrote.

Then, when he agreed to provide a written statement for police, Mr. Long wrote that Ms. Simmons heard noises and grabbed the gun from her luggage. He wrote that he then tried to help her unload the gun, it went off and a bullet struck her in the side, according to the complaint.

But police said Ms. Simmons told medics while they were driving her to Allegheny General Hospital that Mr. Long shot her "because I wouldn't smoke crack with him."

Detectives hoped to interview Ms. Simmons but were told Friday morning that she was on a ventilator and could not yet speak with them. She was in critical condition Friday evening and is expected to survive.

Inside the hotel room, police said they found a five-shot revolver that was registered to a woman born in 1923 and had not been reported stolen. They also said they found wire mesh and a broken glass crack pipe.

Police said Ms. Simmons had been living in the hotel because her Lincoln-Lemington home was uninhabitable after she returned from Florida in May and found that her house had been burglarized. No charges have been filed in connection with that burglary.

Police said Ms. Simmons and her boyfriend had a tumultuous relationship prior to the shooting.

According to the criminal complaint, detectives spoke with Ms. Simmons at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC in February, when she told them Mr. Long forced her at gunpoint into his black Ford Explorer and took her to a motel in Monroeville, where he forced her to have sex with him, hit her and choked her.

Mr. Long has not been charged in connection with that incident.

Police said they found Mr. Long's SUV parked on General Robinson Street when they responded to the shooting and towed it to search it.

Mr. Long faces charges of aggravated assault and gun violations in connection with the shooting. He was being held in the Allegheny County Jail while he awaited arraignment Friday evening.

neigh_city

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


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