A Brentwood man suspected of robbing a Moon grocery store barricaded himself in his home Sunday night and slit his own throat before SWAT officers took him into custody.
Moon Police said Christopher Lyons, 31, is a suspect in the holdup Sunday afternoon at Giant Eagle on University Boulevard. Police said Lyons walked into the grocery about 12:15 p.m. and presented a note to a teller at the Citizens Bank in the store. The note said a robbery was under way, police said.
Police said the teller gave the man an undisclosed amount of cash, which contained an exploding dye pack. The robber fled with the cash, which exploded in the store parking lot before he drove away in a Cadillac Escalade. Witnesses later saw the car on Ohio River Boulevard, police said.
After examining store surveillance-video footage, authorities traced the registration on the vehicle to Lyons’ home at 103 Beisner Ave. in Brentwood. Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman authorized a warrant for Moon Police detectives to search the home.
Officers from the South Hills Council of Governments SWAT team, which includes Moon officers, entered the home at 6:40 p.m. When SWAT officers found Lyons, they said he was wielding a gun and knife and had slit his own throat.
Moon Police Chief Leo McCarthy said Lyons refused to put the weapons down and barricaded himself in the home. Officers lobbed tear gas into the home and negotiated with Lyons until about 11 p.m., when he surrendered.
Lyons was taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital by ambulance and underwent surgery for his self-inflicted neck wounds.
McCarthy said Lyons’ vehicle has been seized and is being examined at the Moon Township Public Safety Building. Lyons is charged by Brentwood Police with violating laws prohibiting a convicted felon from possessing a firearm. In 2002, Lyons was found guilty of receiving stolen property in a Brentwood case, according to court records.
Lyons has not been formally charged in connection to the Moon robbery. McCarthy said an investigation is ongoing.
Store management declined to comment Sunday following the robbery and the store remained open to customers.
Witnesses outside the Giant Eagle reported seeing a cloud of red smoke in the parking lot following the robbery and a large black sport utility vehicle leaving the area, police said. Money stained with red dye was found in the same area, police added.
Moon Police summoned the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate the armed robbery.
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