Bethel Park store owner kills attacker

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Sylvia Armen doesn't remember much about Saturday's deadly encounter with Andrew Moore, a customer-turned-assailant at Armen's House of Music in Bethel Park. But what she does recall is frightening.

"He wanted to look at guitars. He didn't ask for any money," the 72-year-old said Saturday evening, after being treated for injuries and released from UPMC Mercy hospital.

And then, seemingly unprovoked, Mr. Moore pounced, clubbing her on the head. Just as suddenly, police said, Mr. Moore was dead, shot and killed by Mrs. Armen's husband, Alfred, 73, after a brief but violent struggle inside their store late Saturday morning.

Raw video: Bethel Park police chief describes music store shooting

Bethel Park police Chief John Mackey discusses the shooting at Armen's House of Music at 5920 Library Road. (Video by Bill Toland; 4/27/2013)

Mrs. Armen and police both said Saturday that the motive for the intrusion and attack didn't appear to be robbery. And Mrs. Armen said neither she nor her husband recognized the 31-year-old Venetia man -- not an acquaintance and not a former customer, she said.

Her account mirrored the one given by Bethel Park police Chief John Mackey: The man stayed in the store -- a fixture at 5920 Library Road for nearly two decades -- for just a few minutes, appearing to browse. He then went outside to his vehicle, and came back in with some type of wooden club, Chief Mackey said. He described the weapon as "an old-fashioned nightstick."

The intruder attacked Mrs. Armen, causing head injuries. After that, feeling light-headed, "I went and sat down" in the office, she said, while her husband jumped to her defense. A tight-quarters scuffle ensued between the intruder and Mr. Armen, when the shopowner pulled a revolver and shot his attacker dead, the chief said.

"There were some words shared," Chief Mackey said, in explaining how the incident began.

Mrs. Armen said she couldn't recall what those words were, and didn't witness any of the scuffle, because she had retreated to the office. All she knows for sure, she said, is that the attacker acted "crazy."

As for a motive, Chief Mackey said, "at this time, we don't know." Allegheny County homicide detectives were assisting Bethel Park police with the investigation.

Mr. Armen was also treated at UPMC Mercy for his injuries in the attack. Mrs. Armen said her husband would be released today.

The couple lives in Bethel Park.

The county medical examiner's office removed Mr. Moore's body from the store about 4 p.m.

The store sells and repairs instruments and offers music lessons through outside teachers. It was open at the time of the shooting, occupied at the time by only the Armens and their cat -- and store mascot -- Garfield.

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Bill Toland: or 412-263-2625. Staff writer Alex Zimmerman contributed. First Published April 28, 2013 4:00 AM


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