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Police: Man fired gun at house before being killed by police

An armed Monongahela man fired a gun at a house before being killed by police, according to state police.

Cody Bennett, 29, was shot and killed by a Monongahela police officer Sunday night in the 1000 block of Lincoln Street.

Forrest Allison, a state police public information officer, said prior to the shooting, Bennett was at a gathering at a home on Thomas Street.

“At some point, there was a conflict between him and the people at the residence,” Allison said.

According to Allison, Bennett went home and retrieved a gun. He returned to the Thomas Street residence and fired shots into the air and toward the house.

Police were called at about 9:10 p.m.

Bennett had fled the scene on foot. Allison said Bennett fired shots at a police vehicle and struck it.

“The officer in the police cruiser continued to drive to get out of the line of fire. At some point, he got the vehicle turned around to go look for him again, and that’s when he found him on Lincoln (Street),” Allison said.

According to Allison, the officer, who was not identified, ordered Bennett to put down the weapon, but he failed to comply.

District Attorney Jason Walsh said the officer fired one shot.

According to the Washington County coroner, Bennett was transported to Penn Highlands Mon Valley Hospital and was pronounced dead at 10:13 p.m.

State police continue to investigate.

Dunlap 'always looking to help someone'
  • Updated

Edward B. Dunlap Jr. was best known as a businessman – specifically, as founder and chairman of CentiMark Corp. at Southpointe, a billion-dollar corporation and North America’s largest commercial roofing and flooring company.

But the people who knew him well describe Dunlap as a good man, a philanthropist who cared about others.

“He was always looking to help someone. If there was anyone in need – he didn’t have to know the person – he’d help out,” said Bill Laughlin, banquet manager at LeMont Restaurant, the iconic Mt. Washington restaurant that Dunlap and his wife, Anna, purchased in 1999 – nearly 30 years after the couple were married there.

Dunlap died Saturday, July 23, after a long illness.

In addition to being an entrepreneur and restaurateur, he was, according to family and friends, a family man who was kind and generous, a great leader, hard worker, and motivator.

“He was always thinking of others, that was Mr. Dunlap,” said Dr. G. Alan Yeasted, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Emeritus of St. Clair Health, whose friendship with Dunlap spanned 40 years, before Dunlap’s business took off. “You will never read about or know about all the charitable contributions Mr. Dunlap and his family have made to South Hills and the Pittsburgh area. He wasn’t seeking recognition or attention. He paid college tuition for people who are struggling. He just took care of people that way. We had a conversation once where he said he’d been fortunate in life and he wanted to spread his good fortune among others who hadn’t been as fortunate.”

In 2021, St. Clair Hospital opened an outpatient center, The Dunlap Family Outpatient Center, after the Dunlaps donated the largest gift in the hospital’s history. St. Clair Hospital’s conference center is also named after the Dunlaps.

Dunlap grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from St. Joseph High School before he served in the U.S. Coast Guard for four years.

Dunlap’s improbable journey to successful businessman – a testament to his hard work and persistence – began in 1968, when he started a janitorial supply business in the basement of his home.

With $1,000 and one associate, he then started a business that would become CentiMark, which has 95 offices and 3,500 associates. The Dunlaps also own more than 75 businesses, and over the years have run several restaurants in the South Hills.

In a 2018 article in the Observer-Reporter, Dunlap attributed his company’s success and longevity to “hard work” and surrounding himself with “excellent associates.”

Dunlap’s son, Tim, CentiMark’s Chief Operating Officer, echoes his father’s values.

“My dad taught me many valuable lessons. This one is very important to me: surround yourself with the right people,” said Tim. “It’s so important to work with people who will help you achieve your goals, support your beliefs and are the kind of people that you want to be.”

Dunlap loved being with his family. He and Anna had four children, who survive. Also surviving are nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

A devoted fan of baseball and the New York Yankees – the Mickey Mantle Bronx Bombers, not the “new” Yankees – Dunlap over the years visited every Major League Baseball stadium east of the Mississippi River, accompanied by children and grandchildren.

Kathy Slencak, CentiMark’s public relations manager, said those who knew Dunlap “are definitely better people” because of it.

Among the lessons Slencak learned from him, she said, were to be thankful for all we have, to care for those less fortunate, and to always do your best.

“When you work for Ed Dunlap, you were part of his family. You were loved, respected, and held accountable for your actions,” Slencak said. “You were part of a tight-knit group. Your accomplishments were celebrated, even over-celebrated, because Ed Dunlap was both proud and thankful for all the people he worked with.”

In addition to the Dunlap Family Outpatient Health Center, legacies include The Dunlap Family Athletic & Recreation Center at St. Vincent’s College.

If Dunlap became aware of a cause – and he did that innumerable times, Slencak said – he always helped out.

Slencak recalled one night about six years ago when she got a phone call from Dunlap, who was troubled after watching a “60 Minutes” episode about grandparents raising grandchildren as a result of the opioid epidemic.

“He said, ‘Come to work tomorrow with a plan on how to help grandparents in Pittsburgh,’” Slencak said. “And we did, and continue to support grandparents.”

Twenty years ago, Dunlap launched a golf tournament held annually at Southpointe Golf Club to benefit UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

He paid to install a commercial kitchen for Peters Township Meals on Wheels at its Donaldson’s Crossroads location.

A few years ago, during a hot stretch of summer, Dunlap became alarmed when he found out many seniors who were served by MOW did not have air conditioning, and he purchased an air-conditioning unit for seniors who accepted his offer to provide them with one.

Dunlap “was generous to the local nonprofit community,” said Laughlin, often underwriting 50% or more for costs for nonprofits who held fundraising events at the LeMont.

Dunlap also enjoyed meeting the couples who were holding their wedding receptions at the restaurant, making it a point to wish them well – and to sample the Pittsburgh cookie tables.

“He was a remarkable man, a really great guy, a generous guy who cared about and took care of his employees,” said Laughlin. “I’ll miss his sense of humor, our discussions about baseball and other things, seeing him at the restaurant. He touched my life, and I’ll forever cherish the time I had with him.”

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Aliquippa man pleads guilty to selling drugs that killed Canton Township couple

A Beaver County man pleaded guilty Tuesday to selling fentanyl-laced heroin to a Canton Township couple who overdosed and died last year.

Zaeshown Kimbrew, 21, of Aliquippa, pleaded in Washington County Court to two felony counts of drug delivery resulting in death and one unrelated charge of possession with intent to deliver and was immediately sentenced by Judge Valarie Costanzo to serve six to 12 years in prison.

Kimbrew and two other men were accused of delivering the deadly batch of drugs to David and Nannette Dennick, whose bodies were found inside their Mark Avenue home Feb. 27, 2021. As part of his plea agreement, Kimbrew will be required to attain his high school equivalency degree and take vocational courses while serving his sentence.

That was welcome news to David Dennick’s daughter, Alicia Bailey, who thanked Kimbrew for pleading guilty and not putting her family through a trial. She asked Kimbrew to better himself while in prison and then make something of his life after he’s released.

“That’s what I think I want most from this,” Bailey said during her victim impact statement. “I’m not getting my dad back.”

Bailey said she did not know her father was using drugs at the time of his death and she had to research what fentanyl was to understand what happened to him.

“I got introduced to an entire new world because of this,” she said.

Kimbrew, who attended the proceeding through video conferencing, said he was sorry for causing the couple’s deaths and wanted to improve himself while in prison.

“I apologize to the families. No one should lose their life, no matter the cause,” he said. “I hope for the best for y’all, and I hope for the best for me.”

“I’m sure the families appreciate your apology, although they’re suffering greatly right now,” Costanzo said before sentencing Kimbrew.

While Kimbrew avoided a trial with the plea agreement, the case is far from over because his two other co-defendants are still facing charges. Lorenzo Brian Lloyd, 35, of Washington, rejected a plea deal with prosecutors to serve five to 10 years in prison and told his attorney he wanted to go to trial, although he has another plea court hearing scheduled for Aug. 26. The other defendant Mitchell William Logan, 29, of Washington, is still awaiting trial in the case.

Biden fights talk of recession as key economic report looms
President Joe Biden wants to convince a skeptical public that the U.S. is not, in fact, heading into a recession
  • Updated

Facing a potentially grim report this week on the economy’s overall health, President Joe Biden wants to convince a skeptical public that the U.S. is not, in fact, heading into a recession.

The Commerce Department on Thursday will release new gross domestic product figures. Top forecasts such as the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow are predicting that the figure will be negative for the second straight quarter – an informal signal that the country is stuck in a downturn.

The White House is disputing that benchmark, but it will likely otherwise prove political chum for Republicans in an election year.

“Two negative quarters of GDP growth is not the technical definition of recession,” National Economic adviser Brian Deese insisted during Tuesday’s White House press briefing. He added that “the most important question economically is, whether working people, and middle class families, have more breathing room.”

Deese and other members of the Biden administration are pre-emptively telling voters not to judge the economy by GDP or inflation alone. They say people should look at job gains, industrial output and other measures that point toward continued growth, even as Americans are downbeat in polls on the economy and Biden.

The president himself maintains the economy is just cooling off after a sharp recovery from the 2020 recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re not going to be in a recession, in my view,” Biden said Monday. “My hope is we go from this rapid growth to steady growth.”

The specter of a recession could worsen what already appears to a bleak round of midterm elections this November, in which Biden’s Democrats could possibly lose control of the House and Senate. Biden’s team gave technical arguments in a report issued last week about how recessions depend on a dashboard of indicators and that only the non-governmental National Bureau of Economic Research can formally say when a downturn begins.

Republicans warn that the GDP report could show an economy in collapse, noting that Biden was also wrong on inflation as the consumer price index has jumped to a 40-year high despite assurances that the price increases would fade as the country moved past the pandemic.

“The White House published a whole explanation insisting that even if the new data suggest that our country is in recession, we actually won’t be,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in Monday in a speech to the Senate.

“The same people who said inflation wouldn’t happen,” he continued, “are now insisting we aren’t headed into a recession. Draw your own conclusions.”

The GDP report will likely be a “choose your own economy” kind of messaging in which voters will decide which numbers resonate with them the most. It’s GOP bluntness against Democratic nuance.

“You’ll have Republicans saying two consecutive quarters of negative growth – that’s a recession,” said Michael Strain, director of economic policy studies at the center-right American Enterprise Institute. “And you’ll have Democrats making this kind of hard to follow argument that we’re not in recession, but, yes, we are slowing down. If I had to bet, I would bet that the Republican argument gets more traction.”

Not only is the likely GOP message more direct, it also leans into how many Americans feel right now.

A July poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 83% believe the U.S. is going in the wrong direction. That’s a sharp reversal from May of 2021 when 54% said the country was headed in the right direction, a level of approval that overlapped with an increase in vaccinations against COVID-19 and payments flowing from Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package.

Separately, the University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment is lower now than it was during the worst months of the 2008 financial crisis, an epic recession that involved the crash of the housing and stock markets and required a burst of government aid.

The negativity has left the Biden administration trying to make the case that things are better than people think. Their argument starts with the torrid pace of hiring, with an average of 375,000 jobs being added monthly during the second quarter. Unemployment has held at 3.6% since March.

An alternative measure of the overall economy called gross domestic income contradicts GDP, showing that there was growth during the first three months of the year instead of decline. And gasoline prices, a core vulnerability for Biden, have fallen more than 60 cents a gallon since the middle of June, evidence that some inflationary pressures are easing.

Both publicly and privately, administration officials say the GDP report won’t tell the whole story.

“When you’re creating almost 400,000 jobs a month, that is not a recession,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Still, inflation has undermined the robust job market. Wage gains have failed to keep pace with price increases, meaning many people are effectively earning less money. There are also economic threats from abroad as China and many European economies are slowing down in ways that could spill over to the U.S. as the Federal Reserve is focused on raising interest rates in order to lower inflation.

But so long as hiring continues, liberal economists believe that public opinion will change and fears of a recession will fade. The White House analyses are “grounded in data,” said Heidi Shierholz, president of the liberal Economic Policy Institute.

“People will understand that if we continue to have extremely low unemployment that the idea we’re in a recession just doesn’t make a lot of sense,” she said.