COLLIER, PA -- The LA Fitness in the Pittsburgh suburb of Collier, PA, will reopen to members on Saturday and Sunday and to the rest of the general public next Monday, according to the company’s Web site.
The reopening will occur almost three weeks after three women who were working out at the club were shot and killed and nine other women were wounded by a gunman who also was a member of the club. The gunman, George Sodini, also shot and killed himself.
Police had initially closed the club and ruled it a crime scene. An LA Fitness executive who had been in Ohio the night of the shootings on Aug. 4 immediately went to the club.
“We thank everyone for their support,” the company announced on its Web site. “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and those who are now recovering.”
Makeshift memorials at the club have been moved to the side of the doorway, and construction fences have been removed, according to local media reports. A reporter for Pittsburgh TV station WPXI asked LA Fitness member George Macino about the club’s reopening.
“It will bother me,” Macino said, “but it’s important to go back.”
Store owners in the Bridgeville shopping center where the LA Fitness is located have organized a fundraiser for the families of the three slain club members: Jody Billingsley, Elizabeth “Betsy” Gannon and Heidi Overmier.
Two other shooting victims, Lisa Marie Fleeher and Ashley Ferragonio, are suing Sodini’s estate, which is valued at $225,000. Fleeher was shot in the leg, and Ferragonio was shot in the back. Both have been released from the hospital but are undergoing physical therapy and counseling and face additional surgeries, according to reports.
Sodini’s will was filed last Friday by his brother, Michael Sodini. George Sodini left the entirety of his estate to the University of Pittsburgh—his alma mater—but the school rejected the gift.“We believe that any available funds should benefit Mr. Sodini’s victims and members of their families,” the school said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with them.”