Police: Gun jams when man pulls trigger twice after kidnapping

PITTSBURGH — Shyhiem James is in a cell at the Allegheny County Jail without bail after a series of crimes on Sunday, including attempted criminal homicide, kidnapping and robbery. Police say this all happened while there was a warrant out for James’ arrest.

The story ended on the South Side, but it started in Carrick, just outside of the busy Carrick shopping plaza. The plaza has a history of violence, including massive after-school brawls. Police say that Sunday around 2:30 p.m. Shyhiem James walked in front of what appears to be a random victim’s car, pointed a gun at him, got in and demanded he drive to the South Side. According to court documents, James held the gun to the victim’s head and pulled the trigger, but the gun jammed.

“I’m pretty sure that person is traumatized over that,” Steven Scotts tells Channel 11 News. “I would be.”

“It’s scary,” Gracia Rother said. “I feel like things are getting pretty bad around here.”

When the victim got to the intersection of S. 13th Street and East Carson Street, court documents say the victim was told to get on the ground and hand over his Nike Jordans and car keys. The suspect then went into the Buffalo Exchange and tried to sell those sneakers, but things escalated.

The store clerk talked to Channel 11 off camera and her eyes welled up with tears as she described how frightening the series of events was. She said that James wanted to kill them and that if the gun didn’t jam, the ending would be so different. Inside the Buffalo Exchange, police say James got into it with a customer. The clerk tells me she was between that customer and James when he pulled the gun, forcing the customer to hide behind clothing racks.

“That’s terrifying and terrible for the people around here,” Rother added. “It seems to be getting closer and closer to the places that I enjoy going.”

“I would never think it would make its way into the store because they’re so friendly, it’s such a nice environment,” Scotts said. “It’s unexpected, wow.”

Officers were able to arrest Shyhiem James roughly 45 minutes later on 18th Street. They say he was wearing a bunch of stolen clothes. Police say they recovered the stolen car keys and the gun with a live round still stuck in the chamber.

James was also convicted as a juvenile of a violent sex crime. With these latest crimes added to his docket, he’ll remain in jail without bail.

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