IMPERIAL – A retired steelworker in poor health still had enough gumption to subdue and disarm a man who shot three people, one fatally, at a Western Pennsylvania bar, authorities said.
Jerry Maroni, 60, of North Fayette Township, was courageous in his efforts to stop the suspect, 25-year-old David Mazzocco, at the Fort Pitt Inn early Monday, Allegheny County police Lt. Andrew Schurman said.
“Obviously, it could have been a lot worse,” Schurman said, had Maroni not attacked Mazzocco and subdued him with the help of another patron, Juan Rodriguez.
Schurman said Mazzocco became upset while text messaging his girlfriend and began shooting about 12:45 a.m. Mazzocco shot James Adams, 29, of Imperial, in the head, killing him, and wounded another in the neck before Maroni – who was also shot in the arm – subdued the suspect.
“He was ready to kill everybody,” Maroni said told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I just snapped … and I ran toward him.”
Maroni said one gunshot went over his head and another grazed his cheek before he was shot as he tackled Mazzocco.
“I grabbed his wrist and punched him in the face. He got me in the arm, but I got him down and just started beating on his face,” Maroni told the newspaper. “He kept trying to get up, and I just kept smacking him in the head. He wasn’t giving up.”
Maroni had complained of difficulty breathing and climbing stairs a few days ago, according to his son, Michael, 33, and had planned to have his heart checked. Before he could do that, Maroni wound up at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh Monday with a gunshot wound.
Online court records don’t list an attorney for Mazzocco, who remained jailed Tuesday on criminal homicide, attempted homicide, aggravated assault and other charges, including weapons violations.
Schurman said Mazzocco left the bar to get three handguns – none of which he owned – out of his vehicle. Upon returning to the bar, Mazzocco warned two friends to leave before he began shooting the other patrons, none of whom police believe he knew, Schurman said.
Mazzocco isn’t allowed to own or carry guns because of a juvenile court record and mental health issues. Schurman said two of the three guns he took into the bar were owned by Mazzocco’s mother, with whom he lived, while a third was registered to another man. The gun owners could face charges if police determine they helped Mazzocco access the weapons.
“Gun control in a perfect world is great, but it didn’t help my son last night,” said Edward Adams, 63, of Clinton, the dead victim’s father. “This man wasn’t allowed to carry a gun, yet he had three of them.”