ShareThis Page
DUI team fatally shoots fleeing motorist |

DUI team fatally shoots fleeing motorist

| Monday, March 16, 2009 12:00 a.m

Police shot and killed a 33-year-old man who refused to pull over for a roving DUI patrol early Sunday, authorities said.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as Nicholas Haniotakis of the South Side. He died from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and extremities, the examiner’s office said. His death was ruled a homicide.

The incident began at 1:32 a.m. yesterday when a Pittsburgh police officer and state trooper on a joint DUI patrol saw a 2000 Oldsmobile Bravada SUV with an Ohio license plate driving the wrong way down 13th Street. The vehicle had a broken headlight, police said.

When police activated their emergency lights, the SUV sped down 13th Street in reverse. At the corner of Wharton and 22nd streets, the vehicle smashed into a parked car. The officers approached the SUV on foot and ordered Haniotakis to show his hands, according to reports.

Haniotakis suddenly backed up, hit the officers’ parked cruiser and narrowly missed them. Both fired into the SUV, which sped off and eventually crashed again into a utility pole at the corner of Sarah and 22nd streets, police said. Haniotakis was taken to UPMC Mercy, where he was pronounced dead at 2:07 a.m.

A woman who answered the door at 150 Pius St. in the South Side Slopes area yesterday afternoon said Haniotakis was her godson and lived with her.

The woman, who would not identify herself and was crying, said the police had spoken with her earlier. She declined further comment. Neighbors on the block said they did not know Haniotakis.

Haniotakis had been in trouble before. In July 2005, he struck a Mt. Oliver police officer with a car and then led police on a chase in which another officer was injured.

Almost two years later, he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, fleeing or attempting to elude police, reckless driving, driving while operating privileges were suspended or revoked, and traffic violations. He was sentenced to 11 to 23 months in jail, according to court records.

The police officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, as is standard practice, Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard said. She did not release the names of the officers.

There have been nine homicides in the city this year, police Cmdr. Thomas Stangrecki said, three involving Pittsburgh police.

Categories: News
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.