Shooting suspect arrested
December 03, 2013 11:00 AM

DERRY TOWNSHIP — A Burrell Township man reportedly gunned down his former girlfriend in her home near Blairsville, and has been jailed in Greensburg to face attempted murder charges.

State police reported that Arthur Whitfield, 51, of Josephine, shot Holly Embry several times with a .380-caliber pistol at 9:30 p.m. Sunday in a bedroom in her residence at 708 W. First Ave., but left Embry’s three children and his 21-year-old daughter, Alisha Whitfield, unharmed.

Embry, 35, was flown by helicopter to UPMC-Presbyterian in Pittsburgh, according to police.

A hospital spokeswoman this morning said UPMC releases no information about patients who are victims of violent crimes.

State troopers at Greensburg captured Whitfield in the area a few hours after the shooting was reported. He was taken before District Judge Mark Bilik in Bradenville for preliminary arraignment and was sent to Westmoreland County Prison with bond set at $250,000.

Investigators said Whitfield forced his way into a second-floor bedroom where Embry and her 15-year-old daughter were watching television, and fired multiple shots as Embry’s daughter fled to Alisha Whitfield’s bedroom.

Alisha Whitfield told police she saw her father shooting the gun into Embry’s room before he fled from the house.

Embry’s two other children, ages 9 and 13, also were in the house but were not injured, police said.

Trooper Stephen Limani said police with tracking dogs scoured the area and gave up the search about 2 a.m. Weather conditions prevented police from bringing a helicopter into the search.

But about 2:30 a.m., several area residents phoned police to report that a man matching the suspect’s description had been spotted hitchhiking along Route 217, Limani said.

Troopers returned to the area and took Whitfield into custody about 3 a.m. He was unarmed and the weapon has not been recovered, police said.

“He is not cooperating at all,” Limani said.

Investigators learned Whitfield shot Embry because he was unhappy about a change in their relationship, Limani said.

Online court records detail Whitfield’s prosecution in criminal cases dating to 1989 in Indiana, Cambria and Westmoreland counties. He has a record of convictions for theft, indecent assault, driving under the influence, possession with intent to deliver drugs, for which he drew jail sentence of three to six years in 2006, and a count of workman’s compensation insurance fraud, for which he was sentenced in 2007 to serve two to four years in prison.

Troopers have charged him with attempted homicide, prohibited possession of a firearm, aggravated assault, burglary, criminal trespass, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, carrying a firearm without a license and discharging a firearm in an occupied structure. Whitefield is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing Dec. 11 in Bradenville District Court.

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