This Just In: September 10 - 17 | This Just In | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

This Just In: September 10 - 17

Loose Cannon

Summary: A war-history buff mistakenly fires a shot that could easily have touched off hostilities with his neighbors. Reporter: Jodine Costanzo, WPXI Channel 11 Airtime: 1 minute, 30 seconds on Sept. 4 Visuals: * Footage of a damaged home, beginning with the clean, white exterior and ending with a damaged medicine cabinet. * Footage of the weapons of Bill Maser, who wouldn't allow his face on camera, but didn't mind showing off some of his collection. Highlights: * When a Fayette County resident -- who goes shirtless during the interview -- recounts, "It just sounded like a big explosion, like dynamite going off." * When Costanzo explains, "It wasn't dynamite, but the boom of this 80-pound cannon that startled neighbors in Georges Township last evening -- and the cannonball did some serious damage to this nearby home. It traveled about 400 yards, shattering an upstairs window. And once inside, the projectile kept flying, smashing through this medicine cabinet before finally stopping in a closet." * When Costanzo stands near the damaged property, rolling the small cannonball between her thumb and index finger, "The lead ball that hit the house is similar to this one, only it's a little bit larger and heavier. It weighs about two pounds." * When Costanza continues, "The cannon was fired here in Bill Maser's yard on 10 Church Road. When we stopped by his home tonight, he wouldn't talk on camera, but told me that re-creating firearms from the Revolutionary, French and Indian Wars has been his hobby for more than 30 years. He showed me muskets and other weapons he shoots into the wooded hillside just for fun. Maser said last night was no different -- except, he says, the cannonball hit a rock and ricocheted. State police are treating the incident as an accident, but they have charged Maser with several offenses including reckless endangerment and criminal mischief." * When Costanzo concludes, "Maser told me he is very sorry his hobby turned dangerous and is thankful no one was injured. His neighbors are, too." * When the neighbor whose home was hit asserts, "I would say you need a bigger area for something like that, not around here. It's really unsafe." What We Learned: This relatively calm neighbor definitely has a reason to be up in arms. Unanswered Question: What was Maser aiming for? A story on the local news? News Value: 4. We certainly hear about shootings all the time -- but a cannon takes the cake. And I really like a man who treats the local news as it should be treated, and doesn't even put on a shirt for the camera. 

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