Mental illness might have contributed to a Venetia man's decision to attack the owners of a Bethel Park music store Saturday, prompting one of them to fatally shoot him.
Allegheny County police are still conferring with the district attorney's office, but "it doesn't appear likely" that 73-year-old Alfred Armen will face charges in the shooting death of Andrew Moore, 31, inside Mr. Armen's music store, homicide Sgt. Scott Scherer said.
Mr. Moore, who was working as a chef at Atria's Restaurant and Tavern, had probably been playing the guitar since high school and was a member of local band The Shadow Rats, said his longtime friend, Tom Blosel, 31, of Downtown.
"The person that day that went into the music store was not my friend," Mr. Blosel said. "He was a different person, and that person that I knew was a sweet and gentle and kind man that would never hurt anybody, would never hurt a soul."
Mr. Armen and his wife, Sylvia, told police Mr. Moore walked into their store, walked out and returned with what appeared to be a nightstick. They said he began beating Mrs. Armen on the head and then struggled with Mr. Armen.
Mr. Armen tried to remove his gun from a holster and it went off, striking him in the arm. He then shot Mr. Moore in the torso up to four times, police said.
"We know that Mr. Moore had been in [Armen's House of Music] years ago to purchase guitar strings, but we have no idea what brought him back there, why this place was targeted," Sgt. Scherer said. "There's nothing to point us in the direction of what his motive was. I think it is all due to his mental health status."
His death stunned Mr. Blosel, who had known Mr. Moore since the two were in kindergarten.
While they were growing up, the two would play in the woods near their parents' homes in Peters. They once turned Mr. Blosel's pickup truck into an ice cream truck.
Sometimes they wrote screenplays together -- including one for a zombie film -- and Mr. Moore briefly took filmmaking classes at Point Park University, Mr. Blosel said.
They exchanged text messages with movie quotes almost daily.
When his last message went unreturned for several days, Mr. Blosel said he became worried.
Police and Mr. Blosel declined to comment on the specifics of Mr. Moore's mental health history.
Mr. Blosel said he remembered one time a few years ago when Mr. Moore had a "breakdown" and said "he wasn't feeling like himself and that he was scared."
He mentioned feeling lonely and that struck Mr. Blosel as strange, he said, because he thought that Mr. Moore had always been fairly independent.
"He was having trouble, but I can't speculate on what specifically was wrong," Mr. Blosel said.
"He had had a breakdown and he wasn't feeling like himself and he was trying to get better."neigh_south
Liz Navratil: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil.