Pittsburgh police charge man accused of driving through protesters near PNC Park |

Pittsburgh police charge man accused of driving through protesters near PNC Park

Megan Guza
Gregory Wagner

Pittsburgh police on Friday charged a Bell Acres councilman for allegedly driving through a crowd protesting the shooting death of Antwon Rose on the city’s North Shore last week.

Gregory Wagner, 58, is charged with three counts of recklessly endangering another person and two summary traffic violations — careless driving and driving the wrong way, according to court records.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets near PNC Park on June 22, blocking traffic in a demonstration calling for charges to be filed against Michael Rosfeld, the East Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed the unarmed Rose as he ran from police June 19.

It was the third night of protests, and crowds and traffic in and around PNC Park for the Pirates game created chaos and shut down multiple streets in the area. That chaos came to a head when a driver in a black sedan drove through the crowd.

The incident happened at the intersection of Tony Dorsett Drive and West General Robinson Street just before 10 p.m. Three people reported injuries to police, including one person with an ankle injury and another with a back injury.

According to the criminal complaint filed against Wagner, surveillance footage from Heinz Field shows the vehicle attempting to make a U-turn in order to get out of traffic and then driving wide around other vehicles, ending up in the crowd at the intersection.

Television news footage showed the vehicle drive through the crowd, pushing protesters out of the way, detectives wrote in the complaint. Protesters began kicking and hitting the vehicle.

One protester took down the license plate number of the vehicle, a black Mercedes-Benz, and detectives matched it to Wagner through PennDOT records, according to the complaint.

Detectives wrote that Wagner’s driver’s license photo matched the description of the driver given by witnesses.

When detectives initially tried to contact Wagner on Monday, he declined to speak with them, according to the complaint.

Two of three witnesses presented with a photo array picked Wagner, police said. The three witnesses said they’d each nearly been struck when Wagner allegedly drove through the crowd.

Police also found damage to Wagner’s Mercedes, including scratches, dents and a smashed rear windshield, detectives wrote.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 11. Wagner was released from custody on his own recognizance.

Robert Max Junker, solicitor for Bell Acres, issued a written statement late Friday.

“The elected and appointed officials of the Borough of Bell Acres were stunned to hear the news reports late this afternoon,” Bell wrote. “Our sympathies are with those injured in last Friday’s protest outside PNC Park.

“We will closely monitor the events as this matter moves through the justice system and we will follow the law as set forth in the Pennsylvania Borough Code and Pennsylvania Constitution.

Staff writer Natasha Lindstrom contributed to this report. Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.