According to officials, a 74-year-old Washington County, Pennsylvania man was beaten by two masked men armed with an axe handle to the point that he needed stitches. The man was armed, and while he was being beaten, he shot at the two guys and killed one of them. Police were able to apprehend the other. According to WPXI:
Investigators said the 74-year-old victim was beaten with an ax handle before he opened fire.
Police said the incident happened around 9 p.m. on McGirts Road in West Pike Run Township.
The Washington County coroner identified the man shot and killed as 42-year-old Robert West.
The second man involved, police said, took off running but was later arrested. Channel 11’s Dave Bondy was there as Andrew Graseck, 18, was taken to jail.
Investigators said Graseck and West disabled the victim’s power, knocked on the door and hid near the man’s residence. When the victim walked outside to see what may have happened, at least one of the men attacked him, the police report said.
Officers said that’s when the homeowner fired several shots at the pair, striking West several times. Police said Graseck ran to a neighbor’s house and asked the resident to call 911.
Bondy spoke to West’s mother shortly after the incident.
“I don’t see my son doing that. The masks or anything like that. I see him going to get his tools and maybe talk to the man,” Patricia West said.
Patricia West said her son had been working for the man and they had an argument, but she doesn’t believe the argument would have escalated to violence.
“I grew up around him being in the military and a Christian family. My dad has never done anything like this, and for it to end like this kills me,” said West’s son Brandon West.
The homeowner received stitches for a gash on his head, but has since been released from the hospital.
Brandon West said, “That guy should be put in jail. He shot my dad right in the head. I don’t think he deserves to walk. I don’t care if he got that many stitches, I don’t care.”
Graseck was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, criminal conspiracy and criminal attempt.
Investigators said the suspects targeted the victim because of a “business dispute.”
The district attorney will decide if any other charges will be filed.
If this is as clear-cut as the police report makes it out to be, I think the man acted in self-defense. Obviously, the family of Robert West thinks that he didn’t deserve to die. It’s always hard to deal with a death in your family, no matter what the circumstances are.
In this case, the two guys were masked, and even if they didn’t intend to do any lasting harm to the older guy – maybe they just wanted to scare him – there’s no way the homeowner would have known who they were and what they wanted. If all Mr. West wanted were his tools, why did he and an accomplice mask themselves, go to the man’s house at night, shut his power off to lure him out and then start beating on him?
If the homeowner had West’s tools, that’s a situation that needed to be dealt with, but not like this. Their actions only made things worse.