An apparent suicide is now added to the death toll in the Philadelphia building collapse building tragedy.
The inspector of the Philadelphia building that dramatically collapsed — killing six customers and employees in the nearby Salvation Army — reportedly shot himself in the chest inside a pick-up truck Wednesday night. The deceased inspections employee, Ronald Wagenhoffer, had inspected the building and signed off on its demolition weeks before before its deadly collapse on June 5.
According to Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison, Wagenhoffer had received complaints about the site from the public.
City officials say there were no obvious signs Wagenhoffer was distraught, adding that he worked Wednesday, leaving shortly after 3 p.m.
A grand jury was in the process of investigating other individuals to determine if anyone would face criminal charges. Wagenhoffer, who spent 16 years with the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections, was not a target. Everett Gillison, deputy mayor for public safety, has stated, “This man [Wagenhoffer] did nothing wrong. The department did what it was supposed to do under the code at the time.”
The equipment operator had been charged with involuntary manslaughter after an investigation determined he was high on marijuana when the building collapsed. His attorney has since said he was being “made a scapegoat.” Police have said toxicology results showed he was under the influence of a controlled substance.