Bridgeville suicide prompts evacuations

Notes raise fears of noxious gases


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A Bridgeville insurance salesman who was a subject of an FBI investigation killed himself Tuesday in an elaborate suicide that drew the response of a bomb squad and prompted the evacuations of neighboring homes for fear of noxious gases.

The wife of Charles Krohn, 61, called 911 about 8:30 a.m. at the urging of a note she discovered on a bathroom door in their home on New York Street in Bridgeville, police Chief Chad King said. Responding officers went inside and found more notes, including one that "warned of possible explosion if the lights were turned on in the bathroom," the chief said.

PG VIDEO

That prompted the response of several law enforcement agencies, including the Allegheny County fire marshal and the county police bomb squad, which used a robot to determine whether there were deadly or explosive gases inside the home. Finding neither, officers again entered the home just after 11 a.m. and found Mr. Krohn dead inside a shower next to a charcoal grill. Police said it likely emitted carbon monoxide, killing him. His wife was safe with neighbors.

Suicide suspected in Bridgeville man's death

The owner of a Bridgeville home that was surrounded by police and firefighters early this morning has been found dead in what authorities described as an elaborate suicide. (Video by Darrell Sapp; 9/25/2012)

The Allegheny County medical examiner's office pronounced him dead at 11:17 a.m.. About 10 surrounding homes were evacuated as a safety precaution when police were unsure what might be inside the home.

"I err on the side of caution," Chief King said. "I didn't want anyone getting so much as a splinter over this."

It wasn't the first time Bridgeville officers have been called to the home. On Sept. 12, they helped federal agents execute a search warrant and found Mr. Krohn had "preparations made in the garage to harm himself," the chief said. Mr. Krohn was taken to St. Clair Hospital for a mental health commitment but released Sept. 17.

Chief King would not elaborate on why FBI agents had searched the home, and an FBI spokeswoman wouldn't say. She said only that agents had been in the area recently but she declined to say why. Allegheny County police are investigating the death.

Neighbors wouldn't talk about Mr. Krohn, but said they had recently seen undercover cars near his home.

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department said Mr. Krohn's license to sell accidental, health and life insurance and fixed annuities was set to expire at the end of October. Court records show a history of financial troubles. Among them was a 2007 federal tax lien filed against him, saying he owed more than $230,000 for 2004 and 2005.

neigh_west - neigh_south

Sadie Gurman: sgurman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1878. First Published September 26, 2012 4:00 AM


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