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Homicide Suspect Arrested After Deputies, Firefighters Break Into Crawlspace

By Staff Reports
The Tube City Almanac
October 04, 2017
Posted in: Crime and Police News

A suspect wanted in connection with a murder in Penn Hills was arrested this morning in McKeesport after firefighters helped police and sheriff's deputies break into an attic to reach him.

Steven L. Sparrow Jr., 20, of Verona is charged by Allegheny County police with homicide, robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with what Allegheny County Sheriff William Mullen described as the "execution-style murder" of Andre Williams, 26.

In a prepared statement, Mullen said that even after breaking into the crawlspace of a home on Bridge Street where Sparrow was hiding, it took pepper spray and 45 minutes of negotiations with McKeesport police and sheriff's deputies before Sparrow surrendered.

Mullen thanked city police and firefighters for what he called "their amazing support and teamwork."

Allegheny County police Sgt. Scott Scherer said in a release that Williams was shot in the forehead just after 10:30 p.m. Sept. 2 near the intersection of Lincoln and Vine streets in Penn Hills. He died at the hospital a short time later, police said.

A subsequent investigation identified Sparrow as a prime suspect in Williams' killing and a warrant for his arrest was obtained Sept. 26, Scherer said.

According to Mullen, the sheriff's office learned Tuesday that Sparrow had been spotted in Duquesne and deputies searched numerous addresses where they suspected that Sparrow might be hiding out, without success.

On Wednesday morning, Mullen said, deputies learned that Sparrow was staying at a home in the 2300 block of Bridge Street, off of Evans Avenue. Sheriff's deputies and city police arrived about 10:30 a.m., Mullen said, but no one would answer the door.

McKeesport police and the sheriff's office finally forced entry and realized that someone was hiding in an attic crawlspace, Mullen said.

McKeesport firefighters responded and provided deputies with tools to access the attic, Mullen said. After using pepper spray in the attic and "about 45 minutes of attempted negotiations," Sparrow came out and was arrested.

Mullen said police believe that Williams was murdered in connection with a possible narcotics deal and have obtained a search warrant for a Facebook account, believed to have been used by Sparrow.

Sparrow was taken to the Allegheny County police homicide unit for processing, Mullen said. He faces a preliminary hearing at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 18 before Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey A. Manning, according to court records. Bond information was not immediately available.

Following Sparrow's arrest this morning, Mullen said, the owner of the home where Sparrow was hiding was also arrested on an outstanding warrant obtained by Duquesne police.

J’qua Paylor, 23, is charged by Duquesne police with making terroristic threats, intimidation of witnesses and harassment in connection with an incident that happened Aug. 22. She is being held in the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $20,000 cash bond pending a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 17 before Magisterial District Judge Scott H. Schricker in Turtle Creek, court records indicate.

Originally published October 04, 2017.

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