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Axe Handle-Wielding Suspect Killed, Another In Custody After Assault, Robbery Attempt

DAISYTOWN (KDKA) -- One suspect is in police custody and another is dead after shots were fired during an assault and attempted robbery Sunday night at a mobile home in Washington County.

State Police say it happened around 9 p.m. at a mobile home camper on McGirts Road in Daisytown, West Pike Run Township.

Police say two men, identified as 18-year-old Andrew Graseck of Carmichaels and his fiancée's father 42-year-old Robert West of Fredericktown, went to the home armed with axe handles in an attempt "to assault and rob" the victim "based on a prior business dispute."

"My dad has never done anything like this. And for it to end like this... it's killing me," said Brandon West, the suspect's son.

"Maybe he went to talk to him," he added. "My dad would always go to the first thing would be to talk to someone. He's ... I grew up being around him being in the military and being a Christian family and my dad has never done anything like this."

According to police, Graseck and West cut the power to the victim's property and then knocked on his door and hid.

When the victim, 74-year-old Nicholas Dziyak, came to the door, police say he was assaulted by at least one of the masked suspects. As he fell, investigators say Dziyak fired several shots from a .40-caliber Beretta.

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(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Brian Grystar)

West was hit in the gunfire. He was pronounced dead in the yard.

The suspects' family says they believe the full story is not being told. They say the homeowner was in the process of suing the men for allegedly not completing a project.

"He needed his tools. The dude never gave him his tools back. He never gave my dad a call back to go back to finish the job, never paid him," said Brandon West.

Family members say Robert West was a career military man, with 21 years in the Army. He leaves behind two children and four stepchildren.

"After spending months and months and months out of country, fighting for his country… and I don't want anyone thinking he's a monster, because he's not," said Patricia West, the suspect's mother.

Graseck got away to a neighboring home where he asked them to call 911. He was later taken into custody, questioned at the state police barracks in Belle Vernon and then taken to the Washington County Jail.

He'll be facing charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, robbery, and criminal attempt and criminal conspiracy.

"Mr. Grasek was arraigned on robbery aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy charges this morning," said Trooper Jardine. "And he's the only one that charges have been filed against at this point in the investigation."

Any review of the Castle Doctrine, as it may apply to this case, is in the hands of the Washington County District Attorney.

"I'm sure that he's going to be reviewing the self-defense doctrine and the castle doctrine and making that determination at a later time," Jardine said.

Dziyak was taken to Mon Valley Hospital for treatment because he was hit several times in the head and face with one of the axe handles.

State police are continuing the investigation. At this time, the homeowner is not facing any charges.

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