Monessen man arrested in July shooting at Donora bar

September 13, 2013
Frank Tartt

A Monessen man accused of shooting two men who were inside a Donora bar in July was arraigned Friday on charges including attempted homicide.

Frank Ellis “Kimo” Tartt Jr., 32, of 426 Reed Ave., was picked up Friday by U.S. marshals at his sister’s Monessen home, said Donora police Superintendent James Brice. Tartt had been declared a fugitive.

Police were standing outside their station in the early morning hours of July 5 when they heard six to eight shots being fired from the direction of Ray’s Place, 864 Meldon Ave. Police were then dispatched to the bar for a large fight involving possible gunshots.

When police arrived, they saw people leaving the bar in a panic. Officers also saw the glass storm door was broken and had three bullet holes in it. When they were inside after the bar was vacated, police found blood on the floor just inside the door. Six shell casing were found on the sidewalk and street.

A witness sitting in a car outside said he saw two men fighting inside the bar. He then saw a man, later identified as Tartt, leave the bar. Tartt then allegedly pulled out a semiautomatic handgun and fired shots through the bar door, hitting two men. The victims were later identified as Christopher Tartt, his cousin, and Jerome Pryor. Pryor, of Monessen, told police he was shot in the arm as he grabbed two women and pulled them to the ground when the shots rang out.

Christopher Tartt, of Donora, told police he was in the bar with friends. He said he saw his cousin, but did not talk with him. Frank Tartt reportedly went over to his cousin and started yelling profanities at him. He also wanted to fight him over a woman, witnesses said. Christopher Tartt told police that when his cousin did a chest-bump into him, he could feel a gun. He said he then punched Frank Tartt in the face in an effort to stop him from using the gun.

Tartt, who was shot in the thigh, and Pryor went to Monongahela Valley Hospital for treatment. Both identified Frank Tartt as the man who shot them.

A few days after the shooting, Brenda Pritchard told police that Frank Tartt had forced his way into her apartment at 835 Meldon moments after the shooting. She said she found him in her kitchen, covered with blood. Pritchard said Tartt asked her to hide him and said he would pay her.

Pritchard said she was telling him to leave when Jabree Cook entered the apartment and pulled Tartt out. The two men then left the apartment, she said. Tartt was arraigned before District Judge Robert Redlinger on charges including two counts of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, carrying a firearm without a license, discharging a firearm into an occupied building, reckless endangerment, criminal trespass, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct. He was placed in Washington County jail on $125,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26 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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