Police: Dive teams retrieve gun possibly used in violent convenience-store robbery



WASHINGTON, Pa. - Police are still looking for one of the men wanted in connection with a violent armed robbery last month at a Washington County convenience store.

Investigators said two masked men demanded money from the Uni-Mart on East Maiden Street about 4:30 a.m. on March 27.

Investigators caught one of the suspects, Christopher Pitzerella, but continue to search for Shayne Coffield.

Washington police Lt. Dan Stanek said the robbery quickly turned violent when one of the robbers shot the clerk and the other assaulted another worker.

"They jumped up on the counter. One of the males was armed with a small-caliber handgun and shot the clerk behind the counter," Stanek said. "The guy who shot the clerk then pointed the firearm at him again and looked like he appeared to fire a second shot, but the gun misfired and malfunctioned."

Stanek said if the gun had not jammed, police could be dealing with a murder investigation.

According to police, Pitzerella told them Coffield was the shooter. He also told them where they threw the gun, police said.

Officials said search and dive teams retrieved the weapon from a Washington County reservoir Wendesday. Police said the gun was located about 84 feet from the shore.

Diver Donald Ruschak said the search was especially difficult because there was zero visibility in the water.

“I was feeling around sheets of black, it's like Braille. I felt something hard with a handle. I didn't know what it was,” said Ruschak.

Bruce Smith, commander of Mon Valley Divers Rescue, Search and Recovery Team, told Channel 11’s Cara Sapida the location of the weapon is important because it means the suspect told authorities the truth and could possibly lead them to Coffield.

Officials said the clerk who was shot and the worker who was assaulted are expected to make full recoveries.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact police.