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Visitor shot in New Kensington town house

| Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 1:17 a.m.
New Kensington police inspect the scene of a shooting at the Willow Court public housing complex in New Kensington on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

New Kensington police were investigating the Wednesday night shooting of a man who was visiting the Willow Court town houses behind city hall.

Detective Robert Deringer said the man, believed to be in his late teens or early 20s, was inside one of the units when a single shot was fired through an open window about 10:15 p.m.

The man, whose identity police had not yet confirmed, was shot in the abdomen and flown to a Pittsburgh hospital. He was conscious and alert when he left New Kensington; his condition was not available at press time.

Deringer said the man was visiting a woman who lived in one of the units adjacent to the JFK Playground.

Since the unit faces a pedestrian-only courtyard, Deringer said it's likely the shooter was on foot.

Police were knocking on doors of neighboring apartments and canvassing the area, but they had not yet located any witnesses and didn't have a description of the alleged shooter by late Wednesday.

Although the apartment's window was open, the shot was fired through a blind.

Deringer said several of the Willow Court units, including those facing the shooting scene, are vacant. Few people were out in the cold temperatures.

“We really don't have a lot to go on,” Deringer said.

Bonnie Emerick, who lives nearby in Willow Court, said a person in her unit heard a gunshot.

“Around here you never know what it is when you hear it,” said Emerick, who has lived there for seven years.

Emerick said she had just returned home when she saw a person being carried out on a stretcher.

“After last week's fire, I started panicking. What is going on?” she asked.

One of the town houses, which are owned by the Westmoreland County Housing Authority, was destroyed by fire on Friday.

Deringer said he was unaware of any recent criminal complaints at the unit involved in the shooting, but he noted crime was not uncommon in the housing plan.

Liz Hayes and Brian Rittmeyer are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Hayes can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com. Rittmeyer can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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