Andrew Goldstein, night cops reporter

“I had just finished eating in the break room and was walking back toward the hub when I heard a lot of yelling and what sounded like someone pounding on the wall. I quickly recognized [Block’s] voice and walked around him as far as possible to avoid whatever was going on.

“But when I got back to my desk, I realized there was no avoiding the disturbing situation playing out in front of me. JR was ranting like a madman and his daughter was visibly terrified. Additionally, everyone in the newsroom was gawking at the travesty, unsure of what they should do. …

“He was going crazy over the ‘Shame on the Blocks’ sign on the guild bulletin board and demanded that someone take a photo of him and Xxxx in front of it. She was screaming that she didn’t want to, crying hysterically and red-faced. I felt terrible about what I was watching.

“[Block] proceeded to rip the cell phone out of Xxxx’s hand because he thought she was trying to call her mother. He was screaming in Xxxx’s face about the Block family legacy: ‘Do you want to be high class or low class? You’re a Block, you’re one of us! You have to learn how to lead!’ She was shaking and saying that she didn’t want to. …

“Then [Block] started ranting about guild leadership, Shribman and other managers. He said he was ‘going to get rid of the bad guys, [guild unit chairman] Jonathan Silver and Fuoco and … Shribman! I fired David Shribman! I fired David Shribman!’ He continued to rant about Shribman — he said Shribman went to the ‘dark side’ — then he complained about John Craig,  and how John Craig hated the Blocks. …

“Finally, [managing editor] Sally [Stapleton] showed up after what seemed like 20 or 30 minutes, and he continued ranting and raving to her. He told her that she was going to be in the office until 1 or 2 a.m. every Saturday. He told her that the newspaper was ‘going to hell’ and that he was ‘going to burn the place down.’ …

“Personally, I was horrified by what I witnessed. I was extremely concerned for Xxxx’s safety, and I actually noticed that my heart was racing. It was sickening and one of the worst things I’ve ever had the displeasure to witness, certainly in an office setting.

“Having to watch as [Block] terrorized his teenage daughter — with his hair disheveled and his face twisted — was something I’m never going to forget. I wish there was something I could have done, but I, like pretty much everyone else in the office, was stunned by what I saw.”

Carl Remensky, sports desk (former city editor)

“…Eventually he got his daughter in front of the same Guild bulletin board. At one point she appeared very distressed and I saw he had hold of her, with his arms around her waist, trying to pull her back in front of that bulletin board. She appeared to be crying and yelling and appeared doubled over as she tried pull away from him. She got away and Block remained standing at the bulletin board, shouting and slapping the ‘Shame’ poster.”

Alex Miller, paginator:

“Here’s my account of what happened in the newsroom Saturday night. It was wild. …

“The ‘Shame on the Blocks’ poster upset him greatly. He said he wanted it torn down. He pulled his daughter over to it, and I heard him tell her that the message of the poster was directed at her, too, because she was a Block. Then he yelled for a photographer to take he and his daughter’s photo in front of the poster so he could run it on the front page. His daughter, who sounded scared and on the verge of tears, told him she didn’t want to be in the photo, and she tried to get away from him, but he grabbed onto her and wouldn’t let her leave. …

“After that, [Block] paced back and forth in front of the poster. I could hear him punching and slapping the poster and the wall. He yelled again that he wanted the poster to come down. He said he’d lost $300 million on the newspaper, and then he said (I think to Tim) ‘Do you know how much money $300 million dollars is?’ Followed by, ‘No, of course you wouldn’t.’ [Block] yelled that the poster was all David Shribman’s fault. He said he’d fired Shribman for insubordination and because he was disloyal to the Blocks. He said he never should have hired Shribman. He said the previous editor, John Craig, never should have been hired. He said, ‘No man is more hated by the Blocks than John Craig.’ He said next he was going to fire Mike Fuoco and Jon Silver. He said he’d close the whole paper unless we took down the poster. …

“I’ve been working in newsrooms for more than a decade, and this is most bizarre thing I’ve seen. [Block] behaved in a way that would get any ordinary employee fired on the spot and escorted out of the building for everybody’s safety. He appeared totally out of control. He was loud and violent, and it was frightening to witness because he was so erratic. There was no way for anybody to know what he might do next.”

Andrew Conte

Andrew Conte, founding director of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University, writes the On Media column at NEXTpittsburgh with support from The Heinz Endowments.