2 minors killed, 8 injured in shooting at Pittsburgh party

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Shots fired at a house party in Pittsburgh early Sunday killed two 17-year-olds and injured at least eight other people, police said.

Hundreds of people – “the vast majority” of those minors – were gathered at a short-term rental property when a sort of altercation ensued and shots were fired around noon. .

Schubert said there were shots both inside and outside the rental property, “and potentially back and forth.” Bullet casings found at the scene indicate that handguns and a rifle were used, he said, and police believe there were several shooters.

Two male gunshot victims died at the hospital. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office identified them as Jaiden Brown and Mathew Steffy-Ross, both 17.

Eight people were also treated for gunshot wounds and others were injured as they tried to flee, Schubert said, including two who broke bones after jumping from the windows. A victim was injured after a car was “shot up,” Schubert said.

George Stevens said he was outside a bar next to the rental property and smoked a cigarette when he heard what he thought were fireworks and saw children fleeing.

Stevens told The Associated Press that he let three girls hide in his vehicle and call their parents as bullets flew by. He said he saw someone inside the rental property with a gun while young people ran screaming and crying away from the building.

“It happened so fast,” he said. “It was just crazy. Kids were running everywhere.”

ShotSpotter specified more than 90 shots were fired, and Schubert said “we know there was much more than that between inside the structure and outside.” Police processed evidence at as many as eight separate crime scenes that spanned a few blocks around the rental property. Arriving officers found a “very chaotic” scene with injured victims, doctors trying to treat them and people fleeing on foot and in vehicles, he said.

No arrests were reported immediately, but Schubert said “it is our top priority to find out who did this and get them off the streets.” He said he could not comment on a possible motive, but he rejected the number of illegal weapons and too many people with access to them as well as the potent mix of alcohol, drugs and weapons.

“It’s heartbreaking; here we are at Easter and we have several families, two who do not want to see a loved one, ”said Schubert. “Others who’re going to be – how can you even take a vacation when your child was involved in something traumatic like this?”

Allegheny General Health reported that seven people were treated at Allegheny General Hospital and one at Jefferson Hospital for gunshot wounds or other injuries, but officials declined to release their conditions or other information.

Pittsburgh Public Schools will impose a limited lockdown Monday “of an abundance of caution,” said temporary superintendent Wayne Walters in a statement, meaning only people with scheduled appointments will be allowed into the district’s buildings.

Neighbor Mitchell Wilston, 30, told the AP he and his wife were not home during the shooting, but before they left so the neighborhood was filled with people, with cars parked the wrong way down the street and a queue outside the rented home.

“It was so obvious that there would be a problem – there were a number of 14-year-olds trying to get into this place,” he said. The house has been rented for bachelor parties or other events before, or for families of baseball players because of its proximity to the stadium, but no problems had arisen, he said.

In the morning, Wilston said he found his wife’s white car smeared with blood, possibly from someone trying to hide behind the vehicle.

Airbnb spokesman Ben Breit confirmed the house was rented through the company. He said the booker, who would have been 18 years or older under the Airbnb rules, has been given a life ban. Breit’s statement says the party was held without the knowledge of the host, whose list banned parties and announced a noise ban overnight. Breit said Airbnb cooperated with authorities.

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey condemned the violence, which he attributed in part to an inability to get guns off the streets and provide adequate resources to local communities. He said the city would convene a meeting with local leaders to get feedback on a new, city-wide approach to public safety.

“The time has now come for us to move with a sense of urgency to bring justice to the victims and peace to our city,” said Gainey, who is in isolation due to a recent exposure to COVID-19, in a declaration.

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Associated Press journalists Ron Todt in Philadelphia and Rebecca Reynolds in Louisville, Kentucky, contributed to this report.

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