Ronald Wagenhoffer, the man who inspected a building in Center City Philadelphia before it collapsed last week, killing six people, was found dead Wednesday night in an apparent suicide.
According to a local Philadelphia news outlet, police detectives said the 50-year-old inspector was found dead from a gunshot wound to the chest around 9 p.m. Wagenhoffer was found in his vehicle on the 100 block of Shawmont Avenue.
Police told reporters that they are treating Wagenhoffer's death as a suicide, though a medical examiner will make the final determination.
The inspector’s death comes just days after authorities charged crane operator Sean Benschop with involuntary manslaughter and other counts, accusing him of being too impaired to operate a crane at the incident site. While a grand jury was in the process of investigating other individuals to determine whether anyone besides a crane operator would face criminal charges, it’s unclear if Wagenhoffer was under investigation.
A vacant building at 22nd and Market streets was being torn down June 5 when a four-story wall collapsed onto an adjacent Salvation Army thrift store, killing six people and injuring 13.
NBC10, citing law enforcement sources, said Wagenhoffer inspected the building several times and had declared it safe.
District Attorney Seth Williams told reporters in a recent press conference that the panel will investigate "any and all aspects" of the collapse -- including city agencies and policies, "to determine if anyone in addition to Mr. Benschop should be held criminally responsible."
My name is Carey Vanderborg and I'm a journalist working in New York City. I love food, travel, craft beer, live music and writing about all of the above.