The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

October 26, 2012

Attorney: Perp shot up car at ex-chief’s request

PITTSBURGH — A southwestern Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty to illegally possessing silencers and machine guns used one of the illegal devices to shoot up the car of another man at the request of a southwestern Pennsylvania police chief, federal prosecutors said. That police chief is awaiting trial on federal extortion and other charges.

Timothy D. Johnson, 41, of Washington, Pa., pleaded guilty on Thursday and will be sentenced Feb. 19 on charges that he sold a gun to a known felon, and possessing and transferring silencers and a machine gun.

Johnson was arrested last year and told the FBI then that he used one of his silencers in a drive-by shooting that damaged a car in Washington County in April 2011.

“Johnson told the FBI that former East Washington Police Chief Donald Solomon instigated the shooting,” U.S. Attorney David Hickton said in a news release about Johnson’s guilty plea.

Johnson’s attorney, Lee Markovitz, provided more details, saying Johnson was living with the chief’s ex-wife at the time and that Johnson did the drive-by shooting after Solomon asked Johnson to intimidate a man who once dated the chief’s ex-girlfriend. The FBI has characterized the drive-by target as a drug dealer and that Solomon was jealous of him.

Johnson “was asked by Don Solomon to actually go into the home and put a gun to somebody’s head” but Johnson, instead, chose a less dangerous option of riddling the man’s car with bullets during a drive-by shooting, Markovitz said.

Solomon’s public defender, Marketa Sims, declined to comment on the allegations against her client, who was indicted last year on charges he accepted “protection” money from an FBI agent posing as a drug dealer and illegally selling the agent stun guns.

Solomon was indicted last October and has remained free on bond, though a federal magistrate ordered him confined on house arrest.

Solomon initially went back to live with his ex-wife as a condition of his pretrial release, but the magistrate allowed him to move and be confined to another home after she refused to feed him, court records show.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Picking said a regional Joint Terrorism Task force began investigating Johnson after he was overheard talking in a coffee shop about silencers he made.

Markovitz contends Johnson became impatient while trying to get a gun license that would have allowed him to legally possess most of the items Johnson was making and that an FBI informant “fed his ego” which led to the illegal gun and silencer sales.

Johnson was a “gun enthusiast” with “dreams of designing a better silencer” that he hoped to patent, Markovitz said.


Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • 4-year-old killed by van after dad’s funeral, police say

    Police in southeastern Pennsylvania say a 4-year-old boy was struck and killed by a passing van hours after returning from his father’s funeral.

    April 14, 2014

  • Woman gets 6 to 12 years in infant kidnapping

    A Pittsburgh area woman was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison after she was convicted of kidnapping an infant by luring the mother to a Fayette County motel with a phony story about a commercial photo shoot for disposable diapers.

    April 11, 2014

  • APTOPIX High School Stabbings.jpg Lawyer: Evaluate stabbing suspect’s mental health

    The attorney for a 16-year-old accused of stabbing 21 other students and a security guard at their high school said Thursday he wants to have a mental health expert evaluate the boy and hopes to have the case moved to juvenile court.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obamas send prayers to school stabbing victims

    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are sending their thoughts and prayers to the victims of a stabbing spree at a Pennsylvania high school.

    April 9, 2014

  • High School Stabbings.jpg Stabbing spree at Westmoreland County high school leaves 20 injured

    A 16-year-old armed with two knives went on a stabbing and slashing spree at a high school near Pittsburgh on Wednesday, leaving 20 people injured, including a school police officer who eventually subdued him with the help of an assistant principal, authorities said.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX stabbings.jpg Student flashed 2 knives, injured 20 in Westmoreland County school, police say

    A 16-year-old boy "was flashing two knives around" when he injured 19 students and a school police officer who eventually subdued him with the help of an assistant principal at a high school near Pittsburgh on Wednesday, a police chief said.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police: Man killed by train was texting

    Police say a man killed by a commuter train in suburban Philadelphia was texting a friend when he was struck while walking on the tracks.

    April 8, 2014

  • Daniel.jpg Investigators seek cause of fire that killed three brothers

    Authorities searched the rubble of a burned-out farm house over the weekend for the cause of a fire that took the lives of three young brothers left home alone while their widowed mother worked the overnight shift at a direct mail company.

    April 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • Wozniak, John Lawmakers want more aid for cities

    Several bills circulating at the Capitol would open improvement zones more quickly or allow smaller cities to participate.
    Sen. John Wozniak, D-Westmont, wants to make the concept available to more cities the size of Johnstown.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • barbour021614.jpg No shows escaped death by Craigslist killer

    The young woman who says she was driven by satanic spirts to commit a cross-country murder spree over the last six years says authorities are not taking her claims seriously and that she tried to lure other central Pennslyvania men into her death snare with online companionship ads but they didn't show up.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads