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Family seeks answers after motel owner found shot to death in Jefferson Hills

JEFFERSON HILLS, Pa. — Police were called to a deadly shooting at the Jefferson Hills Motel on Route 51 early Friday morning.

According to investigators, someone walked into the motel at about 4:30 a.m. and shot a man who was working at the front desk.

reported that the man, Dehnad Taiedi, 78, was the owner of the motel.%

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Allegheny County police said it appears as if there was a robbery surrounding the shooting.

Carl Harris, who has lived at the motel for five years, told Sapida that he also believes it could have been a robbery.

“Yeah, it has to be, at that time in the morning. Ain’t nobody walking in the courtyard, no traffic, nothing,” said Harris.

Police were hoping to review security video for clues about what happened.

Police told Channel 11 News they have been called to the motel for drug-related activity in the past, but not for a homicide.

"It’s the type of motel that people come and go, stay for a night and leave,” Jefferson Hills Police Chief Eugene Roach said.

People who were staying at the motel said they did not hear anything.

Taiedi’s family members told Channel 11 News Monday that Taiedi had to have let the shooter in because the doors to the motel are always locked overnight.

Ashley Nebel, Taiedi’s granddaughter, said her grandfather had started the paperwork for renting a room when he was shot.

“What did he say to you that you thought it was OK to take a man's life?” she said. “Did he suffer? Did he lay here? Did he try to get up? Could he?”

Police said the shooter got away with $180, and another customer, who arrived a short time later, found Taiedi’s body and called 911.

“He was a hard worker. He didn't deserve this, you know, doing what he loved. He loved this place. He did,” Nebel said.

Nebel said her grandfather had come to the United States from Iran when he was in his 20s.

“He came here with $14 in his pocket, and he had a knack for business,” she said.

She said Taiedi bought the Jefferson Hills Motel in 2001, with his wife who is now deceased, and began renovating it. Nebel said family members had wanted Taiedi to retire, but the 78-year-old continued to work at all hours of the day, including the night shift.

“This was his business (that) he took pride in. For someone to say, ‘Give me all your money,’ he probably said, ‘No, you’re not getting anything.’ Ultimately, he paid the price with his life,” Nebel said.

Taiedi’s family has set up a

to try to raise money for a reward that they plan to offer for a tip that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case.

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