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District Attorney Wants to Know if County Worker Blocked Commitment of Gunman

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala, Jr. says the man who opened fire inside Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic March 8 should have been involuntarily committed two weeks before the deadly rampage. Police say John Shick shot and killed one person and wounded five others before University of Pittsburgh police fatally shot him.

Zappala says the 30 year old Shick had twice visited a family health center with a baseball bat before an unidentified doctor requested involuntary commitment for him in late February.

But Zappala says he believes an employee in the County Office of Behavioral Health blocked Shick from being committed, saying he hadn't made any specific threats.

Zappala says Shick was off his anti-psychotic medication and angry at doctors for perceived failure to diagnose a number of maladies.

Zappala added that his office will subpoena records from Columbia University regarding Shick. The DA's office has learned that Shick received mental health treatments in New York as early as 2005. Shick graduated from Columbia in 2004. Investigators have been trying to determine his mindset and any previous warnings about his behavior.

Columbia spokesman Brian Connolly did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.