Election argument ends with assault, Donora police say

December 1, 2016
Matthew Pugh

An argument over the recent presidential election in the lobby of a Donora high-rise apartment complex ended with a resident of the building hitting a 69-year-old woman over the head with a chair, police said.

Matthew Pugh, 27, of Donora Towers, 685 Meldon Ave., was arrested Wednesday on a warrant obtained by Donora police on charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment.

Borough police were called to the apartment complex Nov. 20. Witnesses told police that Pugh and the woman, also a Donora Towers resident, were in the lobby when they got into a disagreement about politics, particularly the recent presidential election.

Pugh reportedly became enraged. He allegedly picked up a chair and hit the woman over the head, knocking her to the floor. The chair opened a gash on her head that bled severely, police said. The woman also suffered other injuries in the fall.

Pugh left after the assault, police said, but was found a short time later. Donora police Officer Keith Charlton said Pugh is a supporter of Hillary Clinton, who lost to Donald Trump in the presidential vote. The woman apparently made a comment either against Clinton or in support of Trump, sparking Pugh’s attack, said Charlton.

The woman was taken to Monongahela Valley Hospital for treatment of her injuries. Police said Pugh was taken to the same hospital for an evaluation.

Pugh was arraigned before District Judge Larry Hopkins and placed in Washington County jail on $50,000 bond. He is scheduled for a Dec. 14 preliminary hearing before District Judge Mark Wilson.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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