The 2009 Collier Township shooting, also
referred to as the 2009 Bridgeville LA Fitness shooting, was a
murder-suicide that took place on August 4, 2009 in an LA Fitness
health club in Collier Township, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The attack resulted in four deaths, including that
of the perpetrator who took his own life. Nine other people were
injured. The fitness center is approximately 10 miles (16 km) south of
Pittsburgh, in The Great Southern Shopping Center, a strip mall
located near Bridgeville.
The shooting occurred at a women's aerobics class
at the LA Fitness center in The Bridgeville Great Southern Shopping
Center of Collier Township at approximately 8:15 p.m. EDT. The shooter
entered the class, placed a duffel bag on the ground, turned off the
lights, took out at least two handguns and began firing, police said.
According to police, the gunman may have fired 52
shots before committing suicide. The handguns used by the perpetrator
reportedly were two 9mm semiautomatics and a .45-caliber revolver.
Three women and the gunman died, and about nine
other people were injured. The county Medical Examiner's office
identified the three women who died as Heidi Overmier, 46, of Collier;
Elizabeth Gannon, 49, of Green Tree, Pennsylvania; and Jody
Billingsley, 38, of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
The perpetrator was 48-year-old Scott Township
resident George Sodini (September 30, 1960 – August 4, 2009), a
systems analyst at the law firm of K&L Gates.
On a website registered in his name, Sodini
chronicled over a nine-month period his rejections by women and his
severe sexual frustration. "Who knows why? I am not ugly or too weird.
No sex since July 1990 either (I was 29)," he writes. "Last time I
slept all night with a girlfriend it was 1982. Girls and women don't
even give me a second look ANYWHERE."
About his problems with women, he wrote: "Women
just don't like me. There are 30 million desirable women in the US (my
estimate) and I cannot find one." He also wrote about contemplating
carrying out a shooting, which he referred to as the "exit plan",
while also revealing that he "chickened out" of carrying out such a
shooting earlier in the year. The website states that he was "never
married" and concludes "Death Lives!" Sodini states, "Probably 99% of
the people who know me well don't even think I was this crazy." Sodini
is reported to have left a note along inside the gym bag stating his
hatred for women.
In 2008, Sodini posted online videos, in which he
discusses his emotions, along with a tour of his home, the latter
which was a homework assignment from "a self-help seminar [he] had
attended on how to date women". Nearly a week after the murders, it
was revealed that Sodini had brought an inert grenade on a Port
Authority bus on July 28, 2009. After a passenger sitting next to him
notified police, he was questioned about the incident but no charges
It was later revealed that Sodini had left $225,000
for the University of Pittsburgh in his estate. However, the estate
may be instead given to Sodini's victims, as courts have ultimate
decisions over estates. The university has said it has "no interest"
in receiving Sodini's estate.
Pennsylvania gym shooter described as quiet,
By Abbi Tatton - CNN News
August 7, 2009
(CNN) -- A man who shot
three women dead in a Pennsylvania gym was studious and quiet,
according to a woman in a self-help seminar he attended.
George Sodini, 48, posted at least
two videos on YouTube last year, apparently referring to a desire for
a girlfriend in both. Videos of Sodini at a Los Angeles, California,
workshop surfaced on the video-sharing site Thursday, two days after
he opened fire at a LA Fitness center outside Pittsburgh.
Heidi Overmier, 46, of Carnegie,
Pennsylvania; Elizabeth Gannon, 49, of Pittsburgh; and Jody
Billingsley, 38, of Mount Lebanon, died in the shootings. Authorities
said nine others were wounded by Sodini before he turned the gun on
"He was really, really quiet, he
took a lot of notes," said Erin Micklow, 20, who was hired last year
to work at a self-help seminar Sodini attended on how to date women.
Micklow, a model and an actress,
described Sodini as "the most studious in the workshops."
The three-day, eight-hour seminars
were run by author and self-described dating expert R. Don Steele.
They were designed so that men could "pick our brains" about what
women like, said Micklow, who noted that many of the attendees came
from across the country because they were nervous about meeting women.
By the end of the workshops,
Micklow said "a lot of the guys had loosened up," but "George was
pretty much just as nervous."
YouTube videos of the workshops
show Sodini, dressed in a white shirt, listening intently to Steele.
The lecture focused on everything -- from what color neckties to wear
to attract women, to how to get over an overbearing mother.
Online diaries left by Sodini
reveal a man tormented by his inability to find a girlfriend to the
point of rage.
"Girls and women don't even give
me a second look ANYWHERE," he wrote earlier this year. "There is
something BLATANTLY wrong with me that NO goddam person will tell me
what it is."
A suicide note found in Sodini's
gym bag contained similar rants, police said. However, Micklow said
that wasn't the man she met last year.
"George didn't seem like a bad
person," she said. "He was there for self improvement."
Shortly after the seminar, Sodini
made a YouTube video in which he gave a tour of his house in
Pennsylvania. Micklow said that was a homework assignment.
Micklow said the video was an
exercise in making one's home more attractive to women, which she then
critiqued online. Beyond that, Micklow said she had no further contact
The video was
uploaded in February 2008. By November, Sodini had started online
diaries describing his plans for an attack on young women at his gym.
Police: Gym shooter 'had a lot of hatred' for
August 6, 2009
(CNN) -- A Pennsylvania man
who walked into a gym aerobics class and opened fire, killing three
women and wounding nine before turning the gun on himself, "had a lot
of hatred in him," police said Wednesday.
George Sodini, 48, brought four
handguns into the LA Fitness gym outside Pittsburgh and used three of
them, firing at least 36 times around 8 p.m. Tuesday, Allegheny County
Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said.
Sodini, a member of the gym, was
found dead in the aerobics room, lying on top of one of his guns about
seven feet from one of the victims.
Authorities believe Sodini
targeted the aerobics class, because a schedule was found in his home
with that class circled, Moffatt said.
But police do not believe he
targeted anyone personally. An online diary, as well as notes at the
scene and at his home, have led them to believe he was targeting women
In the note found at the scene in
Sodini's gym bag, he complains he had never spent a weekend with a
woman, never vacationed with a woman and never lived with a woman, and
that he had had limited sexual experiences, Moffatt said.
He makes similar complaints in his
online blog, which also documents his growing rage at women for
rejecting him and at the world he felt had abandoned him.
Witnesses told police the gunman
was dressed in black when he entered the class, shut off the lights,
walked about 10 feet and opened fire.
Mary Primis, 26, an aerobics
instructor who is 10 weeks pregnant, was shot twice.
"I remember thinking I wanted to
hold my breath because I was afraid, if he saw that I was breathing,
he would shoot again," she told CNN affiliate WPXI from her hospital
Asked if she thought she was going
to die, she said, "I wasn't sure."
Her husband, Alex Primis, said she
was shot once in the left shoulder and again through the back of her
This was to be her last week
teaching before taking time off for her pregnancy, Primis said.
Sodini apparently had "practice
runs" before the shooting Tuesday, Moffatt said. Someone at the gym
had showed him how to shut off the lights, he said, not knowing his
"He just had a lot of hatred in
him, and he was hell bent on committing this act," Moffatt said.
Sodini worked as a systems analyst
in the finance department of K&L Gates, a law firm with an office in
Pittsburgh, since 1999, Mike Rick, a spokesman for the firm, said.
Neighbors described him as
reclusive and said he had stopped talking to them in the past few
On Tuesday, Sodini visited the gym
three times -- the first about 11 a.m., a second time at 7:40 p.m. and
a third time at 7:56 p.m., Moffatt said. Members of the gym are
required to swipe a card to check in, but do not have to check out, he
said. The first 911 call was dispatched at 8:16 p.m.
Three of the four guns found with
Sodini were traced back to him, and authorities are in the process of
tracing the fourth, Moffatt said. They were two 9 mm semi-automatics,
a .45-caliber revolver and a .38 in his pocket. Sodini also had 30-round
ammunition clips that were illegal before the assault weapons ban was
lifted in 2004, police said.
Police know Sodini made a
telephone call at 7:45 p.m., and believe he may have left the gym to
make it. Authorities are attempting to locate the person he contacted,
Sodini did not mention killing
himself in the note found at the scene, which was mostly typed with
handwritten notations, but did mention it in a handwritten note found
at his home, Moffatt said.
Police seized Sodini's car for
processing, but no guns were found in it, he said. They also seized
his computer and were examining it.
The shooting victims were taken to
the three major hospitals in the area. Moffatt said he believed none
of those who remained hospitalized Wednesday had life-threatening
County officials said counselors
were being made available to area residents in the wake of the
Police spoke to a pastor mentioned
on Sodini's online diary. The man said Sodini attended his church but
stopped in 2006, and that there was a minor incident involving a woman
who felt "he was paying too much attention to her," Moffatt said. The
pastor spoke to Sodini, and it stopped, he said.
Moffatt said police have no
knowledge of any mental health issues involving Sodini, but are still
puzzled at the violence.
"I can't ever
make sense of murders," he said.
Gunman in health club shooting a 48-year-old
August 5, 2009
A man responsible for a deadly shooting rampage at
a fitness club in suburban Pittsburgh was a 48-year-old loner who
seethed online about his anger over women regretting his advances.
George Sodini, despite his best efforts to look
good, hadn't had a girlfriend since 1984 and hadn't slept with a woman
in 19 years.
"Women just don't like me. There are 30 million
desirable women in the US (my estimate) and I cannot find one. Not one
of them finds me attractive," the computer programmer wrote in an
online diary post.
Sodini had worked as a systems analyst in the
accounting and finance department of a Pittsburgh law firm since 1999.
A website in Sodini's name details his life of
rejection by women, struggles with alcohol and bad relationships with
Sodini listed his status as "Never married," and
posted his date of death as Aug. 4, 2009.
Sodini entered an aerobics class at an LA Fitness
centre in Collier Township, about 13 kilometres southwest of downtown
Pittsburgh, on Tuesday night.
He placed a duffel bag on the ground, took out at
least two guns and began shooting, police said.
Three women were killed and nine others were
According to police, Sodini may have fired 52 shots
before killing himself.
Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles
Moffatt said the gunman fired "multiple" weapons "indiscriminately,"
and gave no warning before he began firing upon his victims.
"He walked right into the room where the shootings
occurred as if he knew exactly where he was going," Moffatt said. "I
think he went in with the idea of doing what he did.
"He just had a lot of hatred in him and (was) hell-bent
on committing this act, and no one was going to stop him."
Sodini was a member of the gym and was there twice
on Tuesday before the attack, police said.
Police said he had no criminal record and legally
bought the weapons used.
A chilling plan laid out online
The website, which is registered to Sodini,
contains what appears to be information about the nine months leading
up to the shooting.
"The biggest problem of all is not having
relationships or friends, but not being able to achieve and acquire
what I desire in those or many other areas," reads an entry dated
Sunday. "Everything stays the same regardless of the effert I put in.
If I had control over my life then I would be happier. But for about
the past 30 years, I have not."
It appears the attack has been in the works since
November, with the gunman seeming to back out of an attempt on Jan. 6.
"It is 8:45PM: I chickened out!" he wrote. "I
brought the loaded guns, everything. Hell!"
Police say they are trying to determine if anyone
read the posts before the rampage.
"If anyone knew of it, they would have a moral and
ethical obligation and legal obligation to bring it forward," Moffatt
Terrifying witness accounts
Joann Gazzam told her sister, Debbie Wozniak, that
the gunman walked to the back of the room at the fitness club, put
down his duffle bag, pulled out two guns and started shooting.
"She told me, 'Debi, I seen everything. Oh, my God,
I seen everything. I seen him pull out the guns,'" said Wozniak, who
normally attends the same class.
Twenty-six-year-old Stacey Falk of nearby
Bridgeville, Pa., said the gunman turned off the lights in the
aerobics class before he started shooting.
"All of us girls were just ducking behind each
other and it was just, you know, I was behind a girl, one of the girls
in front to get hit, and when he was in the opposite corner shooting,
I booked it," Falk told WPXI-TV.
Loretta Moss, 44, who lives southwest of the
fitness centre in McDonald, Pa., said she was on a treadmill when she
heard a popping noise.
"I didn't pay attention, and the next minute,
people were screaming," said Moss.
More pops followed.
"There was like a whole spray of them. I'd say
about 15 altogether, and then people started screaming and yelling and
started running out of the building," Moss said. "We laid down, and
then after the last set of ... gunshots, we got up, and someone said
Moss said she saw two women who were shot during
the rampage -- one who was shot in the leg and the other in the
The woman who was shot in the leg was screaming in
"She was screaming: 'It's burning, just please call
the ambulance," Moss said.
By early Wednesday, the remaining nine victims were
in three separate hospitals. Moffatt said two women remained critical,
two others were in surgery, three others were hospitalized and another
two had been treated and released from hospital.
The victims were later identified as Heidi Overmier,
46, of Carnegie, Pa., 49-year-old Elizabeth Gannon of Pittsburgh and
38-year-old Jody Billingsley of Mount Lebanon, Pa.
The police superintendent confirmed that police
found four guns guns and a note inside the shooter's duffle bag -- but
he would not say if the gunman was the author of the note.
The fitness centre released a statement about the
shootings: "Each of us in the LA Fitness family are shocked and
saddened by the senseless acts that took place."
One of Sodini's neighbours told police that he was
"so anti-social we really didn't learn anything personal about him."
Sodini's family issued a short statement: "Our
hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families and we pray
for the full recovery of the survivors."