2009 Collier Township shooting

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Collier Township shooting
CollierTwp-LAFitness-ShootingScene.jpg
The scene in Collier Township at an LA Fitness center where the shooting took place on August 4, 2009
Location Collier Township, Pennsylvania, USA
Date August 4, 2009
c. 8:15 p.m. (EDT)
Attack type
Shooting, murder-suicide
Weapons At least four handguns[1]
Deaths 4 (including the perpetrator)
Non-fatal injuries
9[1]
Perpetrator George Sodini

The 2009 Collier Township shooting, also referred to as the 2009 Bridgeville LA Fitness shooting, was a mass shooting resulting in murder-suicide that took place on August 4, 2009 in an LA Fitness health club in Collier Township, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The attack resulted in four deaths, including that of the perpetrator who took his own life. Nine other people were injured.[1] The fitness center is approximately 10 miles (16 km) south of Pittsburgh,[2] in The Great Southern Shopping Center, a strip mall located in the Kirwan Heights section of Collier Twp.

Details[edit]

The shooting occurred at a women's aerobics class at the LA Fitness center in The Great Southern Shopping Center of Collier Township at approximately 8:15 p.m. EDT. The shooter entered the class, placed a duffel bag on the ground, turned off the lights, took out two handguns and began firing, police said. According to police, the gunman may have fired 52 shots with two 9mm semiautomatic pistols before committing suicide by shooting himself in the head with a .45-caliber revolver.[3][1] A .32-caliber semiautomatic pistol found in his pocket was not used.[4]

Three women and the gunman died, and about nine other people were injured. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office identified the three women who died as Heidi Overmier, 46, of Collier; Elizabeth Gannon, 49, of Green Tree, Pennsylvania; and Jody Billingsley, 38, of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania.[5]

Perpetrator[edit]

George Sodini

George Sodini (September 30, 1960[6] – August 4, 2009), a 48-year-old systems analyst at the law firm of K&L Gates and a resident of Scott Township, was identified as the perpetrator.[7] On a website registered in his name,[8] Sodini chronicled over a nine-month period his rejections by women and his severe sexual frustration. "Who knows why? I am not ugly or too weird. No sex since July 1990 either (I was 29)," he writes. "Last time I slept all night with a girlfriend it was 1982. Girls and women don't even give me a second look ANYWHERE." About his problems with women, he wrote: "Women just don't like me. There are 30 million desirable women in the US (my estimate) and I cannot find one." He also wrote about contemplating carrying out a shooting, which he referred to as the "exit plan",[3] while also revealing that he "chickened out" of carrying out such a shooting earlier in the year. The website states that he was "never married" and concludes "Death Lives!" Sodini states, "Probably 99% of the people who know me well don't even think I was this crazy." Sodini is reported to have left a note along inside the gym bag stating his hatred for women.[5] In 2008, Sodini posted online videos, in which he discusses his emotions, along with a tour of his home, the latter which was a homework assignment from "a self-help seminar [he] had attended on how to date women".[9] Nearly a week after the murders, it was revealed that Sodini had brought an inert grenade on a Port Authority bus on July 28, 2009. After a passenger sitting next to him notified police, he was questioned about the incident but no charges were filed.[10]

It was later revealed that Sodini had left $225,000 for the University of Pittsburgh in his estate.[11] However, the estate may be instead given to Sodini's victims, as courts have ultimate decisions over estates. The university has said it has "no interest" in receiving Sodini's estate.

In March 2012, State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. filed a legal motion attempting to be pre-emptively seek exemption from liability under Sodini's $100,000 personal liability policy. Victims of the shooting claim that the insurance company neglected to ensure Sodini got mental health care.[12]

TGSCOM Inc., an online gun wholesaler based in Green Bay, Wisconsin closed in 2012, and it was reported they were connected to the supply of the gun Sodini used in the incident.[13]

Memorial services[edit]

Flowers and remembrances left at the scene of the August 4, 2009 murder

On August 6, 2009, a vigil service was held for the three women killed in the shooting. The event was held at the Allegheny County Courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh. 75 people attended the memorial service.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "4 Dead In Collier Township Gym Shooting; Gunman Kills Self, Officials Say". Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc. August 4, 2009. p. 1. Archived from the original on August 11, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  2. ^ Barnes, Jonathan (August 5, 2009). "Four shot dead at Pennsylvania gym". Thomson Reuters. Archived from the original on August 21, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  3. ^ a b CTV.ca News Staff (August 5, 2009). "Gunman in health club shooting a 48-year-old loner". CTV News. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  4. ^ George Sodini Posted 2 Web Sites, Online Videos Before Pennsylvania Gym Shooting, ABC News (August 6, 2009)
  5. ^ a b Tribune-Review, Staff (August 5, 2009). "Gunman kills 3, wounds 9, before killing self at Collier fitness club". Tribune-Review Publishing Co. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  6. ^ George Sodini, La Fitness shooter (August 5, 2009)
  7. ^ Hill, Kashmir (August 5, 2009). "LA Fitness Shooter Worked at K&L Gates". Above the Law. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  8. ^ "George Sodini's Online Diary". Retrieved August 6, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Pennsylvania gym shooter described as quiet, studious". CNN. August 7, 2009. Archived from the original on April 5, 2010. Retrieved April 23, 2010. 
  10. ^ "LA Fitness Shooter Brought Non-Live Grenade On Port Authority Bus - kdka.com". Archived from the original on August 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  11. ^ Kerlik, Bobby. "Pitt says 'no' to LA Fitness killer's bequest of $225,000". Pittsburgh Live. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  12. ^ Paula Reed Ward (March 29, 2012). "Killer's insurance company argues it is not liable". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Wis. weapons dealer that sold to Va. Tech gunman closes". Richmond Times-Dispatch. June 21, 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 

External links[edit]