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Officials discuss violence at Carnegie Towers

| Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 12:00 p.m.

Even with the steady decrease in crime over the past several years at Carnegie Towers, Carnegie Borough Council Vice President Pat Catena is not shy to admit what he really wants.

"My ultimate goal," Catena said late last week, "would be to see (Carnegie Towers) gone sometime in my lifetime. The question you have to ask yourself is, does Green Tree have a federally-subsidized building in the middle of a residential neighborhood? Does Scott? Does Crafton?

"I won't be happy until that building is gone."

Catena was reacting to the April 14 shooting that took place at the 10-story, 176-unit housing complex. The Towers is on Capitol Drive but is near multiple houses on Beechwood Avenue.

The complex had been the scene of crime and the target of numerous drug raids in the past; however, new ownership has installed almost 100 outdoor and indoor cameras, and this has led to a decrease in crime.

"I believe what they have up there is one of the most elaborate and sophisticated (security) systems I have seen in my time on the police force," Carnegie police Chief Jeff Harbin said.

The system was installed almost three years ago. This month's shooting was "very heartwrenching," Harbin said, because a 2-week-old infant was included among the three people who were shot.

Police arrested Byron Hall, 21, and James Edmonds Jr., 20, both of Hazelwood. They are charged with conspiracy and reckless endangerment. Both are scheduled for preliminary hearings at 9 a.m. May 10 at District Justice Dennis Joyce's courtroom in Crafton.

As of Monday, police continued to search for the suspected shooter, Rashad Watson, 19. He has ties to the Carrick and Mt. Oliver areas, police said.

Catena has lived on Beechwood Avenue for 10 years. He lives five doors away from the Towers and was home when the shooting took place.

He believes the shooting "simply would not have happened" if it had not been for the building being there.

"That shooting happen-ed in the middle of a rainy day in the parking lot. Other people could have been hurt. There could have been more people (in the lot) if the weather would have been better," he said.

Carnegie Mayor Jack Kobistek agreed, calling the shooting "extremely disturbing" because it had the "potential to be even worse."

"This was a brazen crime. This is important to all of us, I believe. There are possible solutions moving forward right now, but there is no definite answer," he said.

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