A Harrisville man is facing attempted homicide charges from accusations that he shot a woman and stabbed a man Saturday morning in West Liberty.
Gary Fred Sweesy, 47, of 317 N. Main St., is being held in Butler County Jail. A chance for him to post bail was denied because he is considered to be a danger to the public.
Sweesy is accused of shooting Lisa Toth in the back with a rifle and stabbing Erik Crooks in the back with a knife, state police said in court documents.
Butler County 911 dispatched Butler state police at 9:37 a.m. Sept. 11 to a home in the 100 block of Smith Road, where someone had assaulted a couple – a woman had been “shot in the head” and a man was trying to enter the home with a firearm.
Police determined that Toth, 46, had been shot in the upper body, and that Crooks, 52, had a stab wound to the back.
Toth was taken to Allegheny General Hospital and Crooks was sent to UPMC Presbyterian.
Toth and Crooks identified the suspect as Sweesy, who ran from the home, reportedly armed with a semi-automatic rifle, police said.
Toth told police that Sweesy had been staying at the home for a few days. On the morning of Sept. 11, Sweesy argued with Toth about his personal items that gone missing.
According to a criminal complaint Sweesy “retrieved a rifle from nearby” and followed Toth down a hallway, pressing the muzzle to her back and saying “Don’t think I won’t do it.” He shot Toth and Crooks tried to take the rifle from Sweesy, who dropped the weapon during a brief struggle.
Sweesy then stabbed Crooks in the back. The two men continued to struggle with each other until Sweesy was locked out of the home, police said.
Sweesy broke in through a locked door and eventually ran away. Toth called 911 to report the incident.
Multiple police departments, including the state police aviation unit, searched for Sweesy for several hours. State police from the Butler barracks took him into custody.
The Rocket, Slippery Rock University’s student newspaper, reported that the school sent an email alert to its community members on Saturday with a description of the suspect.
Smith Road is about four miles from SRU, which sent out a second alert reporting the suspect had been caught, according to The Rocket.
Sweesy was arraigned Saturday by District Judge William S. O’Donnell, Slippery Rock, on charges of attempted homicide, terroristic threats, burglary, and two counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
Sweesy’s preliminary hearing before O’Donnell is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Sept. 22.