Police were searching for suspects and asking witnesses to come forward after two young men were shot to death after a large party in Pittsburgh degenerated into a volley of gunfire shortly after midnight on Easter Sunday, police said. .
Eight more people suffered gunshot wounds, while five others were injured as they tried to flee the scene.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said city police chief Scott E. Schubert. “How can you even have a vacation when something traumatic like this happened?”
The incident is the fourth mass shooting to occur in the last week. Just a day earlier, nine people were shot at a crowded shopping mall in South Carolina in Columbia, and at least nine others were shot at a club in rural Hampton County. On Tuesday, 10 passengers were shot inside a New York City subway car.
The shootings are an example of what some believe to be a recent national spike in violent crime. Murders are up nearly 40 percent since 2019, and other violent crimes, including shootings, are also on the rise. Experts point to multiple possible factors that could explain the uptick, including the pandemic, loss of confidence in the police and a surge in gun sales.
But officials said one clear factor in Pittsburgh was the large, seemingly unsupervised party. Many of the attendees were minors.
The chaotic scene in Pittsburgh began around 12:30 a.m. at an Airbnb rental in the East Allegheny neighborhood, also known as Deutschtown, on Pittsburgh’s north shore, the department said in a statement Sunday. about 200 people were at the party, according to the statement. Evidence at the scene suggests there were multiple shooters, according to authorities. The shooting began after an altercation broke out at the party. One of the victims, according to the police chief, was just 14 years old.
“Up to 50 rounds were fired inside, causing some partygoers to jump out of windows and sustain injuries including broken bones and lacerations,” the statement read. “Several more shots were fired outside the house.”
Emergency personnel took some of the shooting victims to local hospitals, and others arrived at hospitals independently.
Detectives were interviewing witnesses and reviewing video footage, the department said.
Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, who took office several months ago, criticized the city’s lack of “meaningful legislation” to curb gun violence, hinting at pending actions, in a statement Sunday.
“It is critical that we come together now to help reduce the violence that is currently occurring while we begin to do the long-term work to end the culture of violence that is enabling the senseless loss of life we are experiencing today,” said the mayor.