Klein Thaxton says he feels ‘powerful when I have a gun’
Klein Michael Thaxton took a hostage in a Pittsburgh highrise, made regular updates on Facebook during the event and then surrendered without a fight to police.
Now police believe that Thaxton might have chosen Breitsman because he spotted a smartphone and computer in his office and saw a high-profile opportunity to express himself on the social networking site, Chief Nathan Harper said.
Thaxton was arraigned early Saturday on felony charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault and making terroristic threats. He remains jailed on $1 million bail.
Thaxton told police he left a halfway house about 3 a.m. Friday carrying a kitchen knife, hammer, cellphone and charger. After meandering through various neighborhoods, Thaxton arrived downtown at about 7 a.m. and briefly considered attacking two separate traffic officers with the hammer so he could steal their guns, police said.
“It makes me feel powerful when I have a gun,” Harper said Thaxton told police.
Deciding he might get shot in the process, Thaxton instead sat and munched on a candy bar and noticed women streaming into a 24-story high-rise, police said. Without any particular goal, Thaxton took an elevator to two upper floors, found he couldn’t get around without an electric key card and went down to the 16th floor.
That’s where Thaxton saw the financial firm CW Breitsman Associates and the owner’s name on the door. He also saw a smartphone, TV and computer and “felt this was the office where he needed to be,” Harper said.
Except for the electronics, Thaxton’s choosing the office was “totally random,” Harper said, noting Thaxton didn’t know Breitsman or his firm, which handles union pensions and insurance funds.
Police initially believed Thaxton had a gun because he told police negotiators he was going to shoot the victim. Instead, he threatened Breitsman with the knife, sat across a table from him breathing threats and, otherwise, used Breitsman’s phone and computer to post mostly forlorn Facebook messages, police said.
“i cant take it no more im done bro,” said one post.
“this life im livin rite now i dnt want anymore,” another post said. “ive lost everything and I aint gettin it back.”
Thaxton has been in legal trouble in recent months, pleading guilty in January to robbery for a carjacking last year. That crime was apparently on his mind, Harper said, because his carjacking victim was a woman and Thaxton told police the only other reason he picked Breitsman was that “he didn’t want to victimize another female.”
Thaxton was in the U.S. Army from December 2008 to June 2010. The Army said he trained at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri before being assigned to Fort Riley in Kansas. He made no mention of this on his Facebook page.