City Officials on L&I Death: "This Man Did Nothing Wrong."

City Officials on L&I Death: "This Man Did Nothing Wrong."

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PHILADELPHIA -

"We have now lost seven lives in connection with this tragedy."

With those words, city officials confirmed the overnight suicide of License and Inspections Inspector Ronald Wagenhoffer.

The 16 year city employee was the last city official to inspect the demolition site at 22nd and Market Streets before last weeks deadly building collapse that killed six people and  injured 13 more.

"He was a dedicated civil servant who loved his job," said L and I Commissioner Carlton Williams at an early morning news conference

The 52-year-old Wagenhoffer was found dead just after 9 P.M. in his vehicle on Shawmont Avenue Wednesday night after he sent a text message to family members. He died from a self inflicted gunshot wound after he left work.  He leaves behind his wife and son.

"There's a lot of hurt and pain associated with the tragedy that occurred on June the 5th," Williams added.

With a grand jury investigation underway and many unanswered question about the fatal collapse, city officials moved quickly to clear Wagenhoffer's name. He last inspected the demolition site on May 14 and found a civilian complaint about the demolition work "unfounded."

"This man did nothing wrong," said deputy Mayor of Public Safety Everitt Gillison. "The department did what it was supposed to do under the code that existed at the time."

Meanwhile in Point Breeze, relatives and friends said goodbye to 75-year-old Juanita Harmon, who was killed in the collapse. She was shopping in the Salvation Army Store at 22nd and Market when the building came crashing down. This is how her grandson remembered her.

"She used to take us everywhere," he told the packed church. "She would always keep us together and show us a lot of things so we could learn together."

City officials extended their condolences to Wagenhoffers family. They have offered counseling to city employees.

Officials said Wagenhoffer had not received a subpoena at this point to appear before the grand jury investigating the collapse, but legal experts say he probably would have in the near future.

Fox 29 legal expert Fred Tecce says Wagenhoffer's death could impact the District Attorney's Grand Jury Investigation into the collapse. He said Wagenhoffer could have been a key witness in the probe, a witness that is now unavailable.

Tecce also said there could be allegations, wrongly or rightly made, concerning Wagenhoffer and others at L and I that the grand jury members might have wanted to investigate.

Gillison maintains Wagenhoffer did his job the way he was supposed to.  

Williams told reporters Wagenhoffer "will be sorely missed."

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