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City Briefs: 7/22/01

Sunday, July 22, 2001

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


A man who already was being held in the Allegheny County Jail was arrested last night and charged with fatally shooting a former gang member on a Homewood street.

Jermaine Brown, 24, was arraigned on a homicide charge last night in the Dec. 15, 1999 shooting death of Byron Christopher Johnson, 21, of Wilkinsburg. Johnson was shot to death by a gunman who opened fire on his rented white Toyota while he drove past homes festooned with Christmas decorations in the 7500 block of Susquehanna Street.

The killing came two days after several East End community groups announced that a cease-fire had been brokered among rival groups of young, black men in parts of Homewood, Larimer and Lincoln-Lemington. The truce was a reaction to escalating violence in the neighborhood where several homicides and nonfatal shootings had occurred.

According to a court document filed in support of Brown's arrest, Brown told a witness who heard the December shooting that he shot Johnson because "[Johnson] snitched on the LAW gang from Larimer."

Johnson was a member of the notorious Larimer Avenue/Wilkinsburg gang that was broken up in the mid-1990s and whose members were prosecuted under federal racketeering laws. In July 1998, he was sentenced to one year of home detention plus five years of supervised release.

It was unclear last night why Brown already was in the county jail. Homicide detectives said he had been arrested previously in an unrelated case but would not elaborate.


A Pittsburgh firefighter was charged with rape yesterday after a woman told police he took her to his home in Allentown and attacked her there.

William Brown, 51, of Allentown was arrested and charged with attacking a woman he'd met Friday night at the North Star saloon in the Imperial section of Findlay. Brown danced with the woman and offered to take her to a restaurant when she said she felt ill, police said.

Instead, he took her to a night club and then to his house on West Warrington Avenue, where he assaulted her, police said.


Traffic restrictions will be in place from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. today on Carson Street/River Road.

The restrictions will be for a maximum of 10-minute intervals while blasting and painting operations are completed on the Glenwood Bridge, according to the Allegheny County Department of Public Works.

All four lanes of the bridge will be reopened by 5 p.m. Tuesday.


Dr. Fred P. Harchelroad Jr., an emergency medicine physician at Allegheny General Hospital since 1985, has been named chairman of the hospital's emergency medicine department.

Harchelroad, of Fox Chapel, is a specialist in medical toxicology. He is a graduate of Duke University and received his medical degree from Pennsylvania State University. He completed his residency training in emergency medicine at AGH and was trained in medical toxicology at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, the Rocky Mountain Poison Center in Denver and San Francisco General Hospital.


The Pittsburgh Parking Authority dedicated a statue Thursday to the agency's late engineering director, Wasinder Mokha.

Mokha, who had worked for the authority since 1991, died at age 63 in August after suffering an aneurysm. About a dozen small, clay statues stand in a small park with a fountain, tucked away next to the authority's Downtown offices on the Boulevard of the Allies. Agency officials commissioned a new statue of Mokha to join them.

Authority Director Ralph Horgan, one of many speakers at a dedication ceremony, said Mokha's old office overlooked the small park.


The American Foundation for AIDS Research has awarded grants to two University of Pittsburgh researchers for basic science studies that could lead to new approaches for combating the human immunodeficiency virus.

Michael A. Parniak, a professor of medicine, is receiving $230,000 for his investigation of a protein in the HIV virus that might become a target for new anti-HIV drugs.

Parniak has developed a test that can rapidly measure this protein, called ribonuclease H, an advance that will make it easier to develop drugs that attack the protein.

Kelly Stefano Cole, a research instructor in the department of molecular genetics and biochemistry, is receiving $72,000 to develop methods for evaluating potential AIDS vaccines.

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