The suspect in the January 28 fatal car wash shooting, aka the “Pennsylvania Car Wash Shooter,” has been identified as Timothy Smith, 28.
Smith opened fire at Ed’s Car Wash in Melcroft, Pennsylvania. The incident ended with four fatalities and one injured. Smith remains on life support in hospital with a gunshot wound to his head. He is not expected to survive, according to police.
Just before 3 a.m. on Sunday, Smith attacked five people outside the car wash. Smith was reported to have used an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and a 9-mm handgun in the attack. He was also wearing a body armor carrier, but did not have the ballistic panels (used for greater protection against projectiles) inserted.
Central among the four victims was Chelsie Cline.
Sierra Kolarik, Cline’s 24-year-old half sister, gave information to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Timothy Smith had developed an unhealthy fixation with Chelsie Cline. Smith may have dated Cline, with his breakup with her as a possible trigger behind him taking violent retribution.
On January 24, Cline shared a message to her Facebook that stated “After this week, I rlly need to get taken out….on a date or by a sniper either one is fine w me at this point.” [sic]
Timothy Smith’s reply was chilling and prescient, stating “I could do both.”
The other three victims killed in the shooting were William Scott Porterfield, 27; Courtney Sue Snyder, 23; and Seth William Cline, 21.
Jenna Porterfield, the wife of William Porterfield, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that one of the shooting victims—Chelsie Cline—had broken up with Smith two days prior to the shooting. She was also candid about the nature of her husband’s relationship with Cline, saying:
“I was told my husband was cheating on me…And if he was with someone else while we were having problems, honestly, I don’t care what he did. I’m not going to hold that against him.”
According to the office of the Fayette County District Attorney Rich Bower, the shooting victims drove two separate vehicles to the car wash—Porterfield and Chelsie Cline driving in a Dodge Stratus, and Snyder, Seth Cline, and an unnamed woman in a Chevy Silverado pickup truck.
It is believed that Smith was already at the car wash, where he killed Porterfield and Chelsie Cline first as they exited their vehicle. Snyder and Seth Cline were killed inside their stopped truck, with the surviving unnamed woman taking cover in the rear seat where she was injured by shattered glass.
Timothy Smith worked as a construction worker. In photos of Smith where he is outfitted in camouflage gear while displaying an AR-15 assault rifle, he demonstrates the classic portrait of shooting suspects in America: an obsession with guns.
The gunshot wound to Smith’s head may have been self-inflicted, although further details are not known at this point.