Sharp rise in East/Mon Valley shootings, killings

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Less than a week after a fatal shooting in McKeesport’s Crawford Village housing complex, a man was shot on the complex’s basketball court in broad daylight only moments after several children had been playing there.

McKeesport police Capt. Tim Hanna was quick to say the June 2 shooting was unrelated to any previous shootings and was the result of an argument about “an earlier incident” on which he would not comment.

One week before, jitney driver John Haas was shot in the head at Crawford Village in what police speculate was a case of mistaken identity.

Allegheny County Homicide Lt. Andrew Schurman said Haas’ car is similar to one driven by a gang member who may be involved in several local shootings.

Hanna said there were multiple reports of shootings earlier that day, but with no one injured, he could not say if any were related to Haas’ death or each other.

Hanna was the second jitney driver killed in as many months joining Monica Proviano, 26, who was robbed and murdered in Wilkinsburg April 10 by 19-year-old ex-convicts William McGraw and Timothy Brock.

Communities East of Pittsburgh and in the Mon Valley have seen a surge in homicides in recent weeks, dating to the March 26 afternoon gun battle in Clairton involving six individuals, one of whom, 34-year-old Terrance Moore died.

On May 29, 17-year-old Brian Hall allegedly shot two 19-year-olds, during an apparent drug deal in Wilkinsburg.  The victims remain hospitalized and Hall is still at large.

Four days earlier, again in broad daylight 26-year-old DeVar Reid was shot multiple times in that back in the hallway of McKeesport’s HiView Gardens apartment complex.  Two men were detained in Reid’s shooting, but later released.

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