Allegheny County

Arrest made in Bellevue woman shooting death, suspect “just smiled and gave no explanation”

PITTSBURGH — Police have made an arrest in the shooting death of a Bellevue woman on Wednesday.

According to the criminal complaint, Bellevue police were dispatched to the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Sheridan Avenue for a woman shot multiple times.

28-year-old Rachel Dowden died at the hospital, Allegheny County Police said.

The criminal complaint says that during the investigation, it was learned that Dowden had a history of domestic violence with Deangelo Zieglar. Dowden was granted a protection from abuse order against him on Nov. 3, 2021, which was valid until Nov. 3, 2024.

On Jan. 6, 2022, Dowden waved down an Allegheny County Sheriff’s Deputy to report that Zieglar and an unknown male may have been inside her home.

According to the criminal complaint, Dowden reported that when she got home from work, Zieglar was at the door of her house demanding her gun. Dowden reported she had the gun for her own protection.

The criminal complaint says that Zieglar took the gun from her and used it to hit her in the head. He left the house and Dowden couldn’t find the gun.

Investigators also learned that Zieglar had an active arrest warrant from the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office at the time of the homicide. He was charged with escape for reportedly leaving the Renewal Inc #1 Center in Pittsburgh on Dec. 23, 2021.

According to the criminal complaint, police received video surveillance footage from the area of the murder.

At about 8:11 p.m., two Black males are seen exiting a Port Authority bus, one in a black-and-white striped hoodie and one in a darkly colored jacket that appeared white on the sleeves. They exited the bus and stood at the bus stop for several minutes.

Eleven minutes later, Dowden was seen walking toward the Bellevue Police Station. One minute later, the two men also began walking toward the station and when Dowden crossed the street, she was in front of the men.

At 8:27 p.m., Dowden stopped and waited at the bus stop on the corner of Lincoln and Sheridan Avenues. One minute later, the man in the striped hoodie is seen directly in front of her when she collapses. He then fled down Sheridan Avenue. The second man ran through the Pizza Hut parking lot and then toward Sheridan Avenue.

According to the criminal complaint, detectives were able to use surveillance footage from the bus to identify the man who was with the shooter.

In his interview, he said he met up with Zieglar who asked to go to the North Side to smoke. He agreed but when they got on the bus, Zieglar said they needed to go meet the mother of his child to get money. That’s how they ended up in Bellevue.

According to the criminal complaint, the man said Zieglar began following a female he didn’t know and then pulled a gun and shot her three times.

Both men ran and met up later.

The criminal complaint says that when the man asked why Zieglar shot her, he smiled and gave no explanation. He also discarded the gun in a fanny pack and the two parted ways after going downtown and visiting a convenience store.

The man led police to the location of the gun, which was found in someone’s yard in the fanny pack at 323 Taylor Street.

Zieglar is being charged with criminal homicide, persons not to possess or use a firearm and tampering with evidence.