Any notions that the Independence Day weekend would be peaceful were dispatched when a wildly driven car careened off several walls while pulling into the emergency room parking area at Allegheny General Hospital on Pittsburgh’s North Side just after 4 a.m. July 3.
The driver, 56-year-old Reginald Shelton of the West End had been shot in the chest, fatally. Doctors worked to save him, but he died about three hours later. Police still don’t even know where he was shot.
Less than 24 hours later, 28-year-old James Swanson was fatally shot in Fineview, a neighborhood that saw a fatal shooting in April, two sisters wounded leaving a party in May, and another non-fatal shooting of an 18-year-old on June 25, on the same street where Swanson was killed. There are currently no suspects in Swanson’s death.
Around 7 p.m., a 25-year-old male was wounded at the intersection of Reed and Elmore Streets in the Hill District. Police have no description of the shooter in this incident either.
The holiday mayhem ended about 10:30, July 4, with four individuals—two of them juveniles—shot following an argument between two young Black males on Liberty Avenue near 7th Street, downtown. An adult female, shot in the head, remains in critical but stable condition at UPMC Mercy, the other three victims, an adult male, a juvenile male and a juvenile female were each shot in the leg. The victims’ names have not yet been released.
Police are looking for the shooter, a young man police said was dressed in black, and a second young man who was arguing with the shooter. Police said the second man was thought to be wearing a white dress shirt and a white undershirt.
So in two days, there were seven shootings in the city, two of them fatal. In 2015, there were 8 homicides in the city during the entire month of July—none occurred over the holiday weekend.
Pittsburgh police Chief Cameron McLay had scheduled a press conference for 4:15, July 5 to discuss the weekend’s shootings. His remarks were unavailable by New Pittsburgh Courier deadline. He was also expected to address the ongoing problem of large, roving youth gangs fighting amongst each other at various Downtown locations.
Police spokesperson Sonya Toler said the bureau arrested 15 juveniles for fighting in multiple sweeps during and after the July 4 fireworks display. None of those arrested were involved in the shooting near the T station.
The investigations into all the shootings are ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Violent Crime Unit by calling 412-323-7800.