A fender bender turns deadly when one of the drivers shoots and kills the other.

A young caucasian man, David Hurley, with short brown hair.

David Hurley

A pixelated image of beige two door compact car.

The suspect was driving a car like this one

CASE DETAILS

The Hurleys — Pam and David and their sons — shared a normal and happy life in Turtle Creek, PA, until June 13, 1992. David and his brother were going to take a Boy Scout troop on a canoe trip. Unable to sleep the night before, David decided to go get a donut then stop by his brother’s house. He left home at 1:30 AM.

A man standing inbetween two car that are stopped on a street at night.

Why did the man shoot David?

About an hour and a half later, Pam was surprised to hear her husband calling out from the first floor. According to Pam, he said he had been shot:

“I was stunned and thoroughly shocked. I just couldn’t comprehend that he had been shot. That was just too unbelievable.”

While they waited for paramedics to arrive, David told his wife about the random attack.
He said he stopped for doughnuts and was heading towards his brother’s house when, suddenly, a car appeared out of nowhere and they sideswiped each other. David thought he and the other driver would just exchange insurance information and that would be it. Pam said David told her that the other driver punched him, then pulled out a gun and shot him:

“He said all he can remember is getting in the van and trying desperately to get home, to get away.”

Two paramedics stand over a man and try to put an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose.

Paramedics worked on David’s gunshot wounds

Police and paramedics arrived at around 3:30 AM, and David told his story again to Officer Michael Pruey of the Turtle Creek Borough Police:

“He was calm for a person that had just been shot. At that particular time, I was concerned with getting information that we could put on the air for the other units that were still out on the road.”

David was rushed by helicopter to a hospital in Pittsburgh, six miles away. At 4:30 AM, he was wheeled into emergency surgery. Two hours later doctors emerged from the operating room with news for Pam:

“And I remember we looked at the clock and it was 6:30 a.m. And I looked at my brother and I said this is great, they’re done already. It must have been a lot better than we expected because we expected 4-5 hours from what they told us.”

David had gunshot wounds in the arm and shoulder and he was bleeding internally from a lacerated liver. The operation had gone well, they told Pam, until David suddenly went into cardiac arrest.

“I said to him, you’ve got to be kidding. And he said, no, I’m not kidding, he’s dead.”

In searching for David’s killer, Detective Robert Lazzaro of the Allegheny County Police said they have very limited information to go on:

“We only have the description of a young, black male, driving a champagne colored Honda Prelude. And it’s good possibility that this individual is local.”

Pam Hurley:

“When someone you love dies, it’s very painful and that never goes away and I’m sure that never well. But that pain is also turning to anger. To realize that there’s a person out there continuing with his life as if nothing happened, just makes me very angry.”


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season five with Robert Stack and in season four with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

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27 Comments

  1. K. O'D

    The news made him out to be some loving husband & father. Hey, maybe he was this time, but he wasn’t with me & my daughter. I think it was drug related, most definitely. He did a lot of different things when we were married, drug wise. While we were married and after the divorce he continued to abuse me. He blew his paychecks on drugs, & poker. He cheated on me. He was abusive physically & mentally. If he came home & there were friends who were visiting, as soon as they left, lookout. He wouldn’t let me renew my drivers license, b/c he didn’t want me to be able to go anywhere. When my daughter was born he was physically removed from the hospital by security, for flipping out on me for spelling my daughter’s name Nicole & not Nichole like his mother spelled it. When my daughter was baptized, he took all her money, went to a dive bar in Penn hills blew all the money was so drunk got into a fight, had the shit beat out of him & was arrested. He was definitely no saint. I don’t wish death on anyone, but it is what it is. He put on an act when it was called for & after that I prayed he didn’t try to hurt me or my daughter.

    Reply

  2. Nathan

    I’ve looked at pictures of cars similar to the one shown in the photograph. I’m convinced the vehicle was 1990 Honda Prelude, because several of these cars I saw in pictures matched the picture perfectly. Hope this helps in a sort of way.

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  3. Jason

    Idk. A champange colored Prelude from the late 80s, early 90s. Must be a MILLION of them if not more.
    I notice a lot of comments about drugs. Did he have a history of drug use? Was it some dude with a record that was afraid to go to jail? This is one of those cases we don’t get enough info to do much. A LOT of these Unsolved Mysteries murders WERE over drugs, looking back. But, idk. I hope his family finds peace and justice.

    Reply

  4. Lwebb08

    Also another article says: Results: Unresolved. In 1995, police got a break when a crime lab determined a gun involved in another case matched the one used in the murder. Because it had changed hands since then, that investigation led nowhere. Authorities stated that they have a suspect in the case that they believe is responsible; however, they do not have enough evidence to charge him. They reportedly need a unidentified woman who may have information in the case to come forward. Officially, David’s murder remains unsolved.

    Reply

  5. Lwebb

    Could it have actually been the wife and they made up a cover story? Wouldn’t be the first time. Could it have been the brother and THEY made up a cover story? Hunting=guns I like the drug angle all I can say is I would bet a lot of money what he said happened isn’t what happened.

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  6. Elroy

    I was his best friend.. It is what it is..He was going to his brothers ,to leave woth his brother. To go camping early that morning.. It was not drug related..

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  7. David Melton

    Does anyone really have evidence David Hurley was lying about what really happened? People need to get the facts instead of making assumptions. The killer needs to be caught regardless and if anyone has information big or small, please go to the police. I know what it’s like to lose a loved one and it hurts to lose someone from natural causes much less imagine how it must feel to lose a loved one to murder.

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  8. thinkingoutloud

    definitely more to this story. He told his wife he was going to get a donut at 1Am and then stop by his brother’s place even though they were going on a trip the next day? i think it was drug related or he was seeing a mistress. is there any proof of this car accident? is there any damage done to his car? did the police ever check out the location where this accident happened? can anyone at the donut shop confirm he was even there? seems like he had plans to take care of something and it backfired in which he got hurt. and why travel all the way back home to be taken to the hospital? why not go somewhere nearby and ask for help. a lot of missing info here.

    Reply

    • DragonWolfe

      I was thinking something similar. I lived in suburban Philadelphia at the time and didn’t know of any donut shops open at 1:30am. most dunkin donuts didn’t open till 5am. Was his brother aware he was coming over at that time? What i have a difficult time with is the lacerated liver, that doesn’t happen unless you are hit with enough force, such as in an accident, being punched repeatedly or even kicked. also driving home instead of to a hospital, makes no sense at all.

      Reply

  9. chanita jackson

    any updates on this case

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  10. Wayne Hart

    I wasn’t thinking drugs. I was thinking he went to meet his girlfriend and her husband shot him.

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  11. Beccaboo

    I really think there was more to this story. In my personal opinion I think it was drug related. If you can’t sleep then why go out and get donuts at that time of night?! Each to their own I guess but why not stay at home and drink warm milk etc etc. Who else is going to be out that late as well?! I suppose it could be extremely bad luck but I just can’t see that happening on the night you can’t sleep and drive out….

    Reply

  12. Carmen Houssney

    I watched this story on Unsolved Mysteries many times. The young African American man who committed this crime has to be one of the stupidest people on the face of the planet. He was the one who hit David’s van first and then he gets out and murders him? This guy needs to be given the death penalty as soon as he is apprehended. One of the stupidest things is when someone is responsible for a wrongdoing and they refuse to be confronted about it. This guy is just a plain dumb, heartless, coward and I pray for justice to be provided for David’s family, especially his children who never got to grow up with their dad.

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  13. My thoughts

    Whether or not drugs were involved doesn’t matter. No one has the right to take a life. Race shouldn’t even be brought into the mix, if the tables were turned would it have ever been mentioned? I pray for his family and for swift justice for him and his family.

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  14. Tammy Thomas

    We’re there donuts in the victim’s car? Was his car damaged in a way that would confirm his story of being sideswiped?

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  15. YT

    ALL I HAVE 2 SAY IS NO 1 HAS THE RIGHT 2 TAKE ANY1S LIFE JEHOVAH GOD KNOWS EVERYTHING N WHO U R U CANT RUN N HIDE FROM HIM N HIS JUSTICE ROMANS 12:19 VENGEANCE IS HIS N HE WILL REPAY

    Reply

  16. Caitie

    Someone knows who the killer is,I think someone would’ve noticed something, the whole thing just seems strange.

    Reply

  17. Connie

    I am a psychic who has successfully worked with the police before. I was watching this show this Saturday A M. While I watched the man get out of the car before he shot David, my “immediate feeling” was that the man was a felon, who did not want the police called because he was afraid of going back to jail. Follow the lead of the car he was driving. Check for former felons who was driving that kind of car at that time.

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  18. stevo

    Why wouldn’t you just go right to the emergancy room ? not making any sense.

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  19. sam

    Wow you must be very ignorant george, but when police arrive at the scene of a near fatal shooting, the first thing they should do is check the victim, the fact that he had been shot but stable enough to tell them his version perhaps they believed his story, just because someones white doesnt mean theyre racist

    Reply

    • JML81

      For those thinking there’s something more: there’s absolutely no evidence of that. The story as told isn’t strange in the slightest from a camping pov. If he and his brother were taking a troupe camping, it stands very much to reason that this trip would begin very early. A lot of people when going camping begin the trip very early in the morning. So he was up at 1 and wanted to go hang with his brother for the next couple hours till they were ready to pick up the kids and begin the trip. I find absolutely nothing strange about that.

      Reply

  20. Curious George

    I don’t suppose the police were smart enough to verify damage to the victim’s vehicle or whether he stopped at the donut shop. I doubt a drug deal even crossed the mind of police investigators because when they heard the alleged perpetrator was a young black male they were anxious to hunt him down and violently violate his civil rights. Racist Pennsylvania Police!

    Reply

  21. Tammy Thomas

    Thank you for your responses. That is what I thought of also. I mean if your going on a camping trip with kids the next day, why would you be out in the middle of the night?

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  22. hmmm

    Drug deal gone bad????? Hmmmm

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  23. Tammy Thomas

    I’ve always been suspicious about this story. Anyone else think there might be more to the story?

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    • Kathy

      Yeah I’m a little suspicious as well. I was married to David in 1979, had a daughter with him. He wasn’t the saint he was made out to be.eWfie

      Reply

      • DragonWolfe

        Sometimes shows make the victim look that way so people will be sympathetic. You say he wasn’t a saint, was he a cheater, drug user an abusive man?? From your experience with him what would you say he went out that late for?

        Reply