The profile page for 22-year-old Klein Michael Thaxton was shut down around 1 p.m. Friday, about five hours after police say he entered a 16th floor office at Three Gateway Center and took a man hostage.

Thaxton’s posts included one saying he’d “lost everything” and that people would never have to worry about him again.

Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper says Thaxton has been calm and cooperative but made no demands. Friends of Thaxton used his page to urge him to end the situation peacefully.

Harper says the hostage works at a benefits administration company but they don’t know why he was targeted.

The Facebook postings had the potential to both help and harm the negotiations, Harper said.

It’s helpful that Thaxton can see “that people are concerned about his well-being,” Harper said, but “it is a distraction for negotiating.”

Harper noted that Thaxton remains calm and they want to keep him that way.

Workers milled around near the building after they were ordered out shortly after 8 a.m. when employees in a nearby office called 911 to report an emergency at CW Breitsman Associates. It’s not clear what led Thaxton to target the company, which runs employee-benefits programs for other businesses.

Police brought the suspect’s mother to the office building and put her in touch with Thaxton, Harper said. She said she doesn’t know what drove her son to take a hostage, he said.

A worker on the 16th floor described a woman running into her office yelling for someone to call 911. Kathi Dvorak, an administrative assistant at AXA Advisors, said a second woman ran in and said her office was being robbed.

Harper said authorities know the name of the man taken hostage, but he did not release it. He had previously described the hostage-taker as having a military background but didn’t elaborate.

Thaxton has a criminal record that includes a guilty plea to robbery earlier this year and a minimum six-month jail sentence.

Joel Kirchartz, a 28-year-old web developer who works on the 17th floor, said he and his co-workers looked out the windows Friday morning and “a bunch of cops pulled up with all sorts of sirens going; there must have been 20 of them.” He said he went downstairs to find out what was happening and by the time he got outside, police had sealed the building.

Another worker, Sarah Vereb, said she was at her desk when she was ordered to leave the building shortly after a friend called to report that she wasn’t being allowed up from the lobby.

Hundreds of workers walked down the stairwell. Vereb said the exodus was orderly and “very, very quiet.”

A phone message left for the building’s Santa Monica, Calif.-based ownership group was not immediately returned. The building complex management office confirmed the evacuation and said it was working with police.


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