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Community cooperation credited in Glassport shooting arrests

| Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 4:01 a.m.
Police recovered Ruger .45 caliber pistol, stamp bags of heroin, a bottle of Xanax tablets and about $2,000 in cash and arrested two teens following a shooting incident in the 800 block of Hemlock Alley in Glassport on Sunday. The gun was equipped with what police believe say was a makeshift laser sighting device.
A resident who live near a Glassport house that was the target of gunfire on Sunday said discarded syringes like this one are common sightings in the 800 block of Hemlock Alley.

Two Glassport juveniles were arrested on Sunday after shots were fired into a borough house.

No one was hurt in the incident in the 800 blocks of Hemlock Alley and Ohio Avenue at about 5:08 p.m.

Police arrested a 17-year-old male and a 16-year-old female on Ravensburg Boulevard in Clairton a short time later in a vehicle believed to have been involved in the incident.

A Ruger .45-caliber pistol, two magazines and ammunition, more than 200 stamp bags of heroin, a bottle of Xanax tablets and about $2,000 in cash were recovered from the vehicle. The gun was equipped with what police believe was a makeshift laser sighting device.

Glassport police said the arrests were the result of cooperation from the community and support from neighboring police agencies.

“They were taken into custody pretty quickly,” Glassport Lt. Ron Benoit said, noting neighbors who live near the scene of the shooting supplied them with surveillance video.

In one of the videos, Benoit said, “You could see an arm coming out (of the car window) and the guy shooting at the house.”

Police initially received a call for shots fired in the 800 block of Ohio Avenue and then another call for shots in the same area of Hemlock Alley.

Police said a male wearing a hooded sweatshirt was seen running toward Michigan Avenue after the shooting and getting into a Pontiac, which fled the area. Clairton police later stopped the vehicle and took the two suspects into custody.

A third person in the vehicle not believed to have been involved with the shooting was questioned and released by investigators.

The male suspect, who police say was a passenger in the vehicle, is charged with discharging a firearm into an occupied structure, carrying a firearm without a license, criminal attempt at aggravated assault, reckless endangerment of another person, possession of a firearm by a minor, possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to deliver. He was taken to Allegheny County Jail.

The female suspect, who police say was driving the car, has charges pending in juvenile court.

Police say the shooting appears to have been the result of an ongoing dispute.

Neighbors say the alley has a reputation for drugs.

A woman at the targeted house on Monday said she couldn't discuss the matter but did say the two adults and two children who live there were not home at the time of the shooting. She said several bullets penetrated the home and entered the interior.

Bill Hallas, who lives down the alley from the shooting, was one of several neighbors who provided surveillance video to investigators.

“That's why I have the cameras,” Hallas said. “It worked out. I'm happy the surveillance videos we have made a difference.”

Hallas, who attends Glassport Crime Watch meetings, said he and others are fighting to reduce crime on Hemlock Ally.

“It's called Heroin Alley, which is a shame,” he said, pointing to a discarded syringe on the berm of the alley just across from his house. Hallas said such sightings are common in spite of his and his neighbors' efforts, adding, “I refuse to move.”

Another neighbor, who did not wish to be identified, said she was home when she heard six shots fired.

“I'm very scared,” she said, adding she'd like to move out of the area but can't. “It's really dangerous.”

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or