Local veteran dies in Washington D.C. after falling from wheelchair

PITTSBURGH — A local veteran died early Friday morning in Washington D.C after police say he fell off his wheelchair in a parking lot and hit his head.

Robert Szoszorek was pronounced dead on Veterans Day. His family says he went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to read the names of fallen soldiers. He was found dead just hours later. His family is full of unanswered questions.

“I want to know ... for closure for me and my family because our dad was everything,” said his son, Frank Szoszorek.

Frank said his dad wasn’t wheelchair-bound, but used one to go long distances. Fellow veterans brought back the wheelchair on a bus and told family members to go to Washington to investigate.

“I heard he tipped over with the wheelchair, or got up out of it and fell over, I don’t understand. I just want answers,” said Frank Szoszorek.

Washington Metro Police say they were dispatched to a parking garage around 3 a.m. for a report of an unconscious person. Szoszorek was pronounced dead a short time later.

In 2021, Szoszorek was chosen as a backup reader at the Vietnam Memorial.

“Last year, he went down there for eight hours straight in the rain, overnight, hoping that someone wouldn’t show up so he could take their place and read the names,” said granddaughter Corey Szoszorek.

Corey says reading those names on Thursday was one of the last things her grandfather did, and he was found with the list of names in his pocket.

“When they gave us back his stuff, he had all the names in his pocket when he passed away.”

The family is now waiting autopsy results for more information, which is what Metro Police say they’re doing as well.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help pay for funeral expenses.

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