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Suspect named in NYE party shooting in McKeesport

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 4:32 a.m.
JULIAN SIMS
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | Daily News McKeesport and Allegheny County police are investigating a New Year's Eve shooting that injured four people at 1506 Versailles Ave. early Tuesday morning.

A suspected shooter who injured four people when he allegedly crashed a New Year's Eve party in McKeesport has been identified.

Allegheny County police issued a warrant for Julian Sims, 20, on charges of criminal attempt homicide, four counts of aggravated assault, four counts of recklessly endangering others and firearms violations.

Sims is a light-skinned black male with freckles and a neck tattoo that reads, “Bridgette.” He is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs approximately 145 pounds.

Police said Sims is known to frequent Duquesne, Braddock and Wilkinsburg,

Sims is “considered armed and extremely dangerous,” county police warned in a press release.

Sims was one of three uninvited men whom the host reportedly asked to leave the party at 1506 Versailles Ave.

“A brief altercation ensued and one of the unknown males (identified as Sims) pulled a firearm and began shooting,” county police reported late Tuesday afternoon.

At 3:12 a.m. Tuesday, an officer on routine patrol approached a group of people in the roadway in the 1500 block of Versailles Avenue.

Chief Bryan J. Washowich said the officer was approached by a man who had been shot in the abdomen, who immediately was transported to UPMC McKeesport.

He remained in critical condition at presstime,

Three victims were transported later with wounds to their legs.

“This appears to have stemmed from a house party where the suspects were not welcome,” Washowich said Tuesday morning.

McKeesport's early morning shooting is the first of 2013 — something Mayor Michael Cherepko said came as a shock, because the city's police presence was nearly doubled to deter crime overnight on the holiday. The mayor said Tuesday's incident should draw more awareness to McKeesport's effort to reduce violence.

“While most people are celebrating the New Year and looking forward to a brighter 2013, the last thing you want is a phone call at 3 in the morning that we have four people shot at a party,” Cherepko said. “It's so unbelievably disheartening, but as community leaders we cannot get discouraged. We have to continue to work in every way possible to solve this problem.”

In 2012, Cherepko introduced the Mayor's Select Committee on Crime and Violence with the intent to stop those problems at their source with initiatives directed toward education, recreation and the city's socio-economic climate.

“We are looking for long-term solutions for the youth in our city to curb this addiction to crime and violence,” the mayor said. “We need to change the mentality that allows violence to be a way of solving problems.”

The city announced a quarterly message campaign, which will be presented to council Wednesday evening, to promote the concepts of respect, dignity, hope and love.

“We are trying to give our youth as many positive life experiences as possible,” Cherepko said. “We are encouraging interaction with people who can serve as mentors and encourage children and teens to make good choices.”

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or jvertullo@tribweb.com.

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