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Police: 74-year-old Pennsylvania homeowner fatally shoots 1 of 2 ax-handle wielding attackers


PITTSBURGH — A 74-year-old western Pennsylvania man fatally shot one of two men armed with ax handles who baited him out of his home in an attempt to rob him, police said.

Nicholas Dziyak fatally shot 42-year-old Robert West about 8:40 p.m. Sunday in West Pike Run Township, according to Trooper Matthew Jardine, spokesman for the barracks in Washington, Pennsylvania. The shooting took place in Washington County, about 30 miles south of Pittsburgh.

A second alleged attacker, Andrew Graseck, 18, of Carmichaels, was jailed after he was unable to post $50,000 bond on charges including robbery and aggravated assault.

Police contend West and Graseck cut the power to Dziyak's rural property before luring him outside, where they planned to rob him over a past business dispute. The men knocked on Dziyak's door, and then hid in the dark outside before attacking Dziyak after he went outside to look around and was returning to his home, police said.

Jardine wouldn't detail the business dispute on Monday, except to say it didn't involve illegal activity. He said, while the investigation is ongoing, it was his understanding that it was a prior business dispute, not a drug dispute.

Jardine said Graseck and West "baited (Dziyak) out of his house and attacked him" before Dziyak shot at both men, mortally wounding West. Graseck was arrested after a short chase, which occurred after he ran to a nearby home and asked the resident to call 911.

Dziyak was treated and released Sunday night for unspecified injuries at Mon Valley Hospital, according to a spokeswoman.

District Attorney Eugene Vittone will review the shooting to determine whether it was justified. Dziyak has not been charged with a crime and won't be if the prosecutor determines the shooting was warranted.

"He'll make the determination if it was a Castle Doctrine incident or a self-defense incident," Jardine said of the DA. "He'll be the one to decide whether anyone gets charged with the shooting in this incident."

Vittone didn't immediately respond to a call and email seeking comment. Dziyak's home telephone is unlisted.

Graseck faces a preliminary hearing Jan. 8.

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