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Shooting lands Clairton athlete in jail

Michael DiVittorio
| Friday, July 26, 2013, 5:01 a.m.

A shooting at a graduation party in Renziehausen Park sent one man to a hospital and put a Clairton Bears football player behind bars.

The shooting victim, a 21-year-old man from McKeesport, walked into UPMC McKeesport on Tuesday night with a wounded left thumb, police said.

Hundreds of people were attending the party at the park's Jacob Woll Pavilion, police said.

A uniformed officer on crowd-control duty observed a disturbance approximately 15 yards from police vehicles at about 10:49 p.m.

Officers saw a man later identified as Brandon Murphy, 18, discharge approximately six shots in the direction of an occupied white Ford Crown Victoria, according to the criminal complaint.

The vehicle drifted forward into a wooden fence in front of the park's concession stand, the report indicated.

Police said the victim told them he was standing next to the white car when he was shot. His injuries are non-life threatening and he was the only person injured.

Police saw Murphy run at a full sprint through the wooded area of the park toward Eden Park Boulevard. K-9 units and other officers pursued, and found a black handgun on the sidewalk along the 2000 block of Barnsdale Street.

Murphy was discovered next to a portable toilet adjacent to Helen Richey Field, approximately 15 yards from where the gun was found, court documents say.

Murphy is charged with aggravated assault, attempted criminal homicide, possessing instruments of a crime and three counts of recklessly endangering another person.

Murphy is an incoming senior at Clairton City School District and a fullback for the Bears, who own the longest winning streak of any high school football program in the nation.

“We are saddened by the events that took place at Renzie Park, and we hope the judicial system treats everyone fairly,” district spokesperson Alexis Trubiani said.

“We are sure that the right thing will be done in every aspect of the situation.”

The Bears will carry a 63-game winning streak into the season. Murphy played for Clairton's state championship team last season.

Trubiani said she is unsure if Murphy will remain on the team.

“That would fall within the WPIAL regulations and the administration and coaching staff,” she said.

Police Chief Bryan Washowich said investigators told him people were drinking alcohol and there was “a female provocative dancer” at the party. The incident is under investigation.

“They're allowed to drink in the pavilion. We're just concerned about any underage drinking,” Washowich said. “We're investigating the possibility of charging the renter of the pavilion for any violations, including contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”

Several juveniles were cited for underage drinking, including a 16-year-old McKeesport girl who was issued a citation at UPMC McKeesport on Wednesday at about 1:13 a.m., according to a police report.

Tyrone Davis, 20, of McKeesport and a 16-year-old McKeesport boy were cited for disorderly conduct.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting or party should contact McKeesport police at 412-675-5015.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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