PITTSBURGH, April 28 -- A 34-year-old man was arrested Friday after allegedly going on a racially motivated shooting spree in the suburban Pittsburgh area that left five people dead, a sixth person critically wounded and two synagogues damaged.
Richard Baumhammers of Mt. Lebanon, Pa. was being held without bond at Center Township Jail. Authorities say they have not determined a motive for the wave of violence that spread through at least five Pittsburgh-area communites and targeted Jews, Asians and blacks.
Jeff Killeen, a spokesman for the FBI, said that agency was participating in the investigation based on the attacks on two synagogues. He said that damage to religious property and the potential for intimidation gave the FBI jurisdiction under federal civil rights law.
Firefighters were summoned to the residence of Baumhammer's neighbor at 1:43 p.m. Friday. They found the building on fire and a female occupant dead inside, police said. Later, the suspect allegedly shot into a chinese restaurant in nearby Robinson Township, fatally wounding two men, including a cook.
About 3 p.m., a black man was shot and killed at a martial arts school in Center Township. Two Indian nationals were shot at an Indian grocery and one died later at a local hospital.
Police believe the suspect was also involved in shooting incidents Friday at two local synangogues, including one where anti-semitic graffiti has been spray-painted.
Baumhammers was arrested about 3:15 p.m. in Ambridge. Police say a witness at one of the crime scenes had written down the number of his license plate.
All of the crimes took place within a 20 mile radius, authorities say.
The shooting spree is the second in the Pittsburgh area in two months. On March 1, a man killed three people and wounded two at fast food restaurants in Wilkinsburg, Pa, an East side suburb.