The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 31, 2012

Man sought in connection to fatal shooting

Dave Sutor

— State police are looking for a mystery man, identified only as “Mitch,” following his alleged involvement in a fatal shooting along Stone Quarry Road in Torrance, Westmoreland County.

According to police, the individual was the target in a robbery plot that ended in the death of an alleged conspirator, Michael Volk, 24, of New Florence, on Saturday afternoon.

Police allege Volk, Danielle Leigh Clawson, 23, of Gamble Road in West Wheatfield Township, Indiana County, along with Jesus Santiago, 42, and Tiffany A. Blattenberger, 22, both of Quarry Road, planned to rob him of heroin and money.

“Mitch” is described as a 5-foot-10 black man, weighing between 180 and 200 pounds, with a chipped front tooth and dreadlocks. He was wearing an Oakland Raiders winter skull cap at the time of fleeing the scene in a two-door maroon car with a different colored roof. A surveillance camera at the Burrell Township Wal-Mart recorded him not long before the incident.

A police representative from the Greensburg barracks could not immediately be reached Monday for a further update.

Police stated the vaguely-identified individual had been staying with Santiago and Blattenberger in their Stone Quarry Road trailer for a short period of time.

Clawson allegedly drove Volk, her boyfriend, to the location. Clawson and Blattenberger then left. Santiago and Volk went inside to allegedly commit the robbery. Soon afterward “a gun was introduced and used to shoot the victim twice resulting in his death,” according to an affidavit from Trooper William Bigelow.

Law enforcement officials are investigating to find out who fired the shots. Bigelow, in his affidavit, felt all three individuals “directly and/or indirectly contributed to the death of the victim.”

“We did an autopsy (on Sunday) to confirm the cause of death,” said Paul Cycak, chief deputy at the Westmoreland County coroner’s office.

Santiago, Blattenberger and Clawson were charged with homicide, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery during an arraignment in front of District Judge Douglas Weimer.

The three suspects are being held in Westmoreland County Prison without bail. Preliminary hearings are set for Jan. 9.

Anybody with information about “Mitch” may contact Bigelow at 724-832-3288.

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