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Garfield community remains on edge after hourslong standoff, police shootout

Garfield residents and businesses impacted by six-hour standoff, shootout
Garfield residents and businesses impacted by six-hour standoff, shootout 02:10

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The standoff and shootout in Pittsburgh's Garfield neighborhood Wednesday had a major impact on the broader communities, as law enforcement evacuated homes and blocked off roads. 

Some people living by Broad Street and North Mathilda Street, the scene of the incident, could not return to their homes more than 12 hours after the incident started and more than 10 hours after they were evacuated. While the gunfire is over, they remain on edge.

Leslie Thompson can still hear the barrage of gunshots in her ears.

"The shots were just everywhere," Thompson said. "It's unexplainable."

She said it was around 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday when she was working from home on Broad Street and saw law enforcement across the road at her neighbor's door, urging him to come out. Eventually, shots rang out as she ran to the basement.

"My fear was that he was running throughout the neighborhood. So, I was trying to shut my windows so he couldn't get in," Thompson said.

For about two-and-a-half hours, she stayed in the basement. She left after police banged on her door to evacuate, as they engaged in an active standoff with the barricaded man.

Thompson, like Shay Howard Hraniotis, waited and waited for the situation to resolve.

"Thank goodness for my dog like letting me know that something was going on," Hraniotis said, holding back tears.

Hraniotis moved to Pittsburgh four weeks ago.

"I've been able to meet a lot of neighbors and they're all great. They assured me this is something that does not happen," Hraniotis said.

However, it was still nerve-wracking, especially for Julia Trainor, who was less than a mile away at UPMC Children's Hospital.

"It's crazy because working at a children's hospital, you don't necessarily think that anything like this is going to happen down the road," Trainor said.

Since the standoff ended, Thompson is scared of what she'll find when she returns. As she raced out, she saw holes in windows and doors and glass shattered from bullets that hit her home.

"The anxiety that I'm feeling right now is like overwhelming because I just don't know," Thompson said.

In the 15 years she's lived there, Thompson's never experienced something like this. She just wishes things could have ended differently.

"I was just hoping that it could have been, he walked out," Thompson said.

As of 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, state police told KDKA-TV that the further residents are from Broad Street, the more likely they're able to go home. It's going to be several more hours before those on Broad can return.

Businesses close early

Businesses in the Garfield area were impacted by the massive police situation.

Numerous businesses closed early as a precaution, including Halcyon Salon, which cleared its schedule and waived all fees for people who were on the books.

The owner of Bantha Tea Bar said he was outside when he heard all the shots. He said a group of children from a day care in the area were being taken on a walk when the incident started.

"I saw the kids and the teachers looking freaked out," said Jack Ball, co-owner of the bar. "So, I brought them inside into the art gallery and let them stay here until things got safe."

"We just kind of stayed open to let neighbors come in just to give them a place to be safe," Ball added.

Ball said he kept the shop open longer on Wednesday to give neighbors a quiet place to debrief after the long and traumatic day.

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