Community Center Party, Pennsylvania Shooting (News21USA) — A private party at a Pennsylvania community center turned tragic when one person was killed and eight others were wounded in a shooting early Sunday, according to authorities.
The Pennsylvania State Police in Indiana County reported that troopers, local officers, and emergency services rushed to the Chevy Chase Community Center in White Township, located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh, at 12:35 a.m. Sunday in response to the shooting.
Among the victims were nine individuals aged between 18 and 23, including a 22-year-old man from Pittsburgh who lost his life at the scene, as confirmed by the police.
An 18-year-old man from Chicago suffered critical injuries, and an 18-year-old man from Florida was also among the wounded. The remaining victims were all from Pennsylvania, consisting of three men aged 19, 20, and 22, two 19-year-old women, and a 23-year-old woman.
The injured were transported to various medical centers, including Indiana Regional Medical Center in Indiana, Pennsylvania; UPMC Presbyterian and UPMC Marcy in Pittsburgh; and Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown. Several of the injured had already received treatment and were released, according to a later update by the police on Sunday morning.
As of now, no suspects have been taken into custody, and the authorities have appealed to anyone with information to contact the Indiana County troopers. It remains unclear what led to the shooting or whether the perpetrators have been identified. Additionally, it’s uncertain whether multiple individuals were involved in the incident, and whether any suspects were present at the gathering.
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The shooting location is approximately 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus, which was celebrating its homecoming weekend. While at least two university students were among the wounded, the event was not affiliated with the school, clarified university spokesperson Michelle Fryling. Campus activities continued as scheduled with heightened police presence, as communicated to staff via email, as reported by the Tribune-Review.
Neighbor Robert Miller and his wife recounted hearing loud music from the building before the incident occurred. Miller said, “Then all of a sudden, I heard about 20 gunshots,” describing a chaotic scene with people lying on the sidewalk. His wife, Ellen Ober, added that “there were people everywhere crying and screaming.”
Trooper Cliff Greenfield revealed that investigators were in the process of gathering information from witnesses, acknowledging that they hadn’t yet interviewed everyone present at the scene due to the chaotic nature of the incident.
The Chevy Chase Community Center, established in 1971 to combat poverty and assist those in need, according to its website, expressed condolences via its Facebook page. The center’s executive director, Brandi Ports, conveyed prayers for everyone involved and announced the center’s temporary closure. The community center’s mission is to foster a peaceful and inclusive culture that brings the community together through positivity, diversity, inclusion, education, nutrition, and love.
Lillian Clemons, a nearby resident and former director of the center, expressed her sorrow over the incident and suggested that the center shouldn’t be rented out during what she referred to as “hectic weekends” such as homecoming. She emphasized the center’s significance for the community, saying, “This was a service for the community. That’s what we need it for, for the people.”