PITTSBURGH (AP) — Gunfire at a youth football game in Pittsburgh on Saturday sent three people to the hospital, two of them in critical condition, police said.
Youth football action from 2010
Commander Thomas Stangrecki of the Pittsburgh police department said a fight broke out in the stands at the field in the East Liberty neighborhood shortly after 10 a.m.
A 27-year-old Wilkinsburg man was shot in the chest, a 64-year-old Verona woman was shot in the stomach and shoulder, and a 33-year-old woman was shot in the hand, Stangrecki said. All three were taken to UPMC Presbyterian, where the 27-year-old and 64-year-old underwent emergency surgery and were in critical condition, Stangrecki said. The 33-year-old woman, whose hometown wasn’t released, was in stable condition, he said.
The game at the field adjacent to the former Peabody High School, now the Pittsburgh Obama International Studies Academy, was between 6- and 7-year-old players from the East End Raiders and a team from Wilkinsburg.
The fight stemmed from an ongoing dispute involving the man and other men from Wilkinsburg, Stangrecki said. He said it appeared the gunfire was intended for the man.
One of the East End coaches, Don Peters, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that people started screaming and scrambling out of the stands as one of the injured women fell down several stairs.
“This ruined everything for 5,000 children” in the youth league, he said.
“I thought it was fireworks —we often do that,” Garrett Barnett, coach of the Wilkinsburg team, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Everything got real quiet, and then real noisy. Kids were crying, they were all scared.”
As of Saturday night, no suspects had been arrested, Stangrecki said.
Commander Sheryl Doubt said, head of the East Liberty police station, told reporters that the gunfire apparently stemmed from an argument the day before in Wilkinsburg that continued on social media overnight, but she didn’t know what the dispute was about.
“It doesn’t matter to me what it was about,” Doubt said. “It was probably something very petty, because that seems to be the trend.”
Pittsburgh woman suing Rep. over small cake prize
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Pittsburgh woman is suing state Rep. Jake Wheatley in small claims court, saying he only coughed up half of the $200 prize she claims he promised the winner of a community day cake-baking contest.
Fifty-five-year-old Denise Robinson, who like Wheatley is a Democrat, says the dispute isn’t about the $100, it’s about the principle.
The paralegal says, “If my state rep will breach a contract for $200, then what is he doing for $200,000.”
Wheatley tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the whole thing is a misunderstanding.
Wheatley acknowledges fliers for the Sept. 8 event tout a $200 prize, but says contestants were told the prize would depend on the number of entrants who paid $10 each — and that the prize was smaller because fewer people entered than expected.
Robinson says Wheatley should honor the flier.
Pitt raises more than $2 billion over 12 years
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The University of Pittsburgh says it has topped its $2 billion fundraising goal.
Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said Friday that more than 182,000 donors have contributed to the capital campaign, an effort that has enabled major construction projects at all five Pitt campuses, plus supported educational and research initiatives.
Pitt began the “Building Our Future Together” campaign 12 years ago with the goal of raising $500 million. After reaching that milestone in 2002, the target was doubled to $1 billion. In 2007, the goal was doubled again to $2 billion.
The university received $125 million — the largest gift in school history — from former steel executive William Dietrich last year. In recognition, Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences has been named for Dietrich’s father.
Other area schools also have major capital campaigns under way. Carnegie Mellon University, which is close to the Pitt campus, has raised more than $1 billion over the last four years.
Earlier this year, Stanford University announced that it had raised $6.2 billion over a five-year campaign, and in 2011, Yale announced that it raised $3.9 billion in a seven-year campaign.
Pitt is a state-related school serving about 29,000 students on its main campus and nearly 7,000 more at regional locations.
W. Pa. man critical after being shot by officers
NEW CASTLE, Pa. (AP) — Four officers have been placed on leave while state police investigate their shooting of an armed man, ending a reported hostage standoff in western Pennsylvania.
New Castle police say 43-year-old Ivy Lanthier was shot early Friday when he emerged from his home carrying a shotgun and pistol and fired at police. Four officers in the city about 45 miles northwest of Pittsburgh returned fire.
Police Chief Bobby Salem says his officers and will be on leave until the state police investigate. It’s routine for an outside agency to review officer-involved shootings.
No police were hurt but Lanthier was in critical condition at a Youngstown, Ohio hospital.
Police went to Lanthier’s house about 9:30 p.m. Thursday after he reportedly held a man at gunpoint, ordered his family to leave and fired guns into the ceiling.
Vest saves Pittsburgh officer who wounds gunman
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A city police officer was saved when his bulletproof vest stopped a shot fired by a gunman who wanted to “kill an officer” but was instead wounded by return fire, police said.
“The intent of Tiant Mitchell was to kill an officer,” police Chief Nate Harper said at a news conference about Friday’s shooting involving Officer Andrew Baker.
Baker responded to a call reporting shots fired about 5 a.m. in the city’s Stanton Heights neighborhood, where three city officers were fatally shot in April 2009 by a man now on death row.
Harper said Mitchell has a long criminal record despite being just 25 years old, and police believe he’s involved with a street gang. Mitchell was fighting with his wife and aimed a gun at her and their 1-year-old child earlier Friday morning before the woman convinced Mitchell to walk with her to buy cigarettes to calm him down, Harper said.
During the walk, Mitchell told her he wanted to kill a police officer, Harper said.
At one point, Mitchell fired his gun in the air three times and when the woman expressed concern that the police might be called Mitchell reportedly said, “Let the police come,” Harper said.
Baker arrived moments later and found Mitchell and his wife standing in the street. Harper said Mitchell fired at Baker’s car, hitting it three times in the hood and shattering a headlight before Baker emerged and was immediately shot in the chest.
Saved by his vest, Baker took cover and returned fire hitting Mitchell in the buttocks, Harper said. Mitchell’s wife was shot in the hand and police believe she was struck by one of the shots Baker fired.
Online court records don’t list an attorney for Mitchell, who was taken to UPMC Presbyterian hospital under police guard, where he was expected to recover. Mitchell’s wife was also treated at that hospital.
Baker will be on paid leave while police and the district attorney review the shooting. Harper said Baker also will be reassigned, but not because he did anything wrong.
Rather, the chief noted this is the fourth time this year — and the third this month — that Baker has been forced to return fire in a life-threatening situation. Baker patrols out of Zone 5, which covers several of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods.
Baker fired one shot at a car he stopped for speeding in February, after the driver sped away nearly hitting Baker and another officer. On Sept. 9, Baker and other officers were shot at and returned fire while responding to a shooting. On Sept. 29, Baker shot at a man who allegedly tried to run him over at the end of a police chase, Harper said.
Baker is a five-year veteran who has received a citation for helping rescue a woman from a flash flood that killed four people in August 2011.
2 children die in Pittsburgh house fire
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Authorities say two children have died in a Pittsburgh house fire.
Police say the blaze began about 3:20 p.m. Friday in the Greenfield neighborhood.
Officials say a 3-year-old girl named Irihanna Hayward died at the scene. They say a 4-year-old named Kamari Thomas died at a nearby hospital.
Their babysitter is in critical condition after jumping from a third-floor window to escape the flames.
Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire.
Steelers rookie accused of DUI, assault in chase
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Authorities say a Pittsburgh Steelers rookie defensive lineman fled police and crashed into parked cars while driving drunk, then was arrested.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that authorities allege that 22-year-old Alameda Ta’amu of Kent, Wash., was driving a sport utility vehicle the wrong way on Pittsburgh’s South Side at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. Police say the 6-foot-3, 348-pound Ta’amu fled officers and crashed into four parked cars, injuring a woman, then tried to flee on foot before he was restrained.
Charges against him include felony fleeing police, aggravated assault and aggravated assault by vehicle.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert says team officials are “disappointed” but will await more information before commenting further.
Ta’amu was drafted in the fourth round out of Washington. He has yet to play this season.