A 22-year-old man named Klein Michael Thaxton took a hostage at knifepoint today in downtown Pittsburgh — and Thaxton was giving updates on his Facebook page until cops shut it down.
Thaxton walked into Three Gateway Center around 8:20 a.m. EST claiming to have a bomb. He then took a hostage — the owner, whom he asked for by name — at the offices of C.W. Breitsman Associates, a retirement-plan administrator firm on the 16th floor of the building.
There were early reports that he had a gun, but those turned out to be false. He had a knife that he placed at the throat of his hostage as he threatened him.
The crisis ended peacefully shortly before 2 p.m. Thaxton was charged with kidnapping and terroristic threats.
#GatewayHostage situation is over. Pittsburgh Police are crediting the POOP OUT THE WINDOW guy for calming the suspect down with his comedy.
— GrizzlyBlair (@grizzlyblair) September 21, 2012
Here’s what you should know about Thaxton and the situation:
1. He Was Posting on Facebook During the Crisis
Around 1 p.m. EST Thaxton’s Facebook page was taken offline. Before that he was posting bizarre updates, prompting several comments from fans and strangers. Police worked to get the profile deactivated while the police chief requested that people stop communicating with Thaxton on the page. Police Chief Nate Harper says he will criminally prosecute people who were egging on the suspect in Facebook comments.
2. Thaxton is a Wannabe Rapper with “Blueberry Piss”
20120803_182229.wav by Klein Michael Thaxton
This untitled track from the hostage taker is pretty terrible. Okay, it’s incredibly terrible. Maybe this is like a real-life re-enactment of the movie Airheads. We can’t even pay attention to this track long enough to really know what it’s about other than just a bunch of crappy hip-hop cliches lazily strung together. Although, he does seem awfully adamant about his “blueberry piss.” Mr. Thaxton, I don’t know how to break this to you, but that might not be something to brag about. It sounds more like you have some sort of terrible medical condition.
3. His Girlfriend Ended the Crisis
Thaxton requested his girlfriend to come to the scene, and she eventually helped coax him out.
4. He Has an Insane Criminal History
In July 2011 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Thaxton allegedly carjacked a woman, throwing her to the ground and stealing her Hyundai. He led cops on a car chase through Pittsburgh, threw a gun from the car, then jumped out at an intersection and took off on foot. He climbed a fence onto the roof of an autobody shop, then jumped roof-to-roof in a wild footchase before injuring an ankle and getting busted.
5. He Was in the Military
6. His Mom was on the Scene
— Cara Sapida (@WPXICara) September 21, 2012
Suspect’s mother Ronda Thaxton is distraught, says “I just want my son to get the help he needs.” #gatewayhostage
— Sadie Gurman (@sgurman) September 21, 2012
Thaxton’s mom, Ronda Thaxton, told reporters “I just want my son to get the help he needs. I don’t want my son to hurt the hostage, I don’t want my son to hurt himself.”
7. His Hostage was the Owner
Thaxton’s hostage was Charles Breitsman, owner of C.W. Breitsman Associates. There were reports of the owner’s daughter running into a nearby office, screaming “Call 9-1-1!”
8. He Demanded Food and Money
— Janelle Hall(@JanelleHallPgh) September 21, 2012
9. There Were no Shots Fired or Injuries
Police did not speak to the hostage during the crisi but knew he was safe. An officer spotted the hostage and suspect sitting across a table from one another. Cops reported the suspect as calm and negotiating rationally.
10. People Remained in the Building
Only Floor 16 was evacuated. It was business as usual in the rest of the building.