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Police looking for gunman in Downtown shooting

About Jason Cato

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By Jason Cato

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 11:08 a.m.

People who live and work in Downtown say they feel safer than ever, despite the shooting of two people during a robbery in the shadow of the Andy Warhol Bridge.

The Tuesday night shooting that left a man and a woman with multiple gunshot wounds was at least the fourth Downtown since August. Though the most recent annual police data show more crime Downtown than any other neighborhood, violent crimes there are still rare — accounting for 112 of 800 crimes in 2011, the latest numbers available.

None was a homicide.

“You have crime no matter where you go,” said Marla Martinko, owner of Galardi's 30 Minute Cleaners, the Forbes Avenue business her family has operated for 50 years.“But for the amount of people who are Downtown compared to other neighborhoods, I think it is better than it was.”

An estimated 200,000 people live, work and visit Downtown every day, according to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

Martinko said she feels safer since the renovation of Market Square and because more people live Downtown — about 8,000 in 2010, up from 6,400 a decade before, according to the partnership.

“With all the new apartments down here, it seems safer than it used to be,” she said.

John Valentine could not agree more.

“I think it's very safe,” said Valentine, who moved from Manhattan to Gateway Towers nine years ago and is president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association. “When I moved here, you could roll a bowling bowl down Fifth Avenue and not hit anybody.”

Police Lt. Kevin Kraus said the victims of Tuesday's shooting, whom police did not identify, are expected to live.

Investigators said their assailant attempted to rob them about 8 p.m. near the intersection of Fort Duquesne Boulevard and Seventh Street before firing a semiautomatic handgun.

The victims ran after the shooting and were about to talk to officers who found them five blocks away.

The man, 46, of York, appeared to be shot once in the back of the head and several times in his midsection, police said. He was in stable condition at UPMC Mercy, Uptown, Kraus said.

The woman, 32, of East Liberty, was shot several times in the stomach. Police said she was in stable condition at Allegheny General Hospital in the North Side.

The pair told police they were smoking marijuana on the ramp leading from the Warhol bridge to the walkway along the Allegheny River when the man shot them.

Police did not release information about the shooter but asked that anyone with information call the robbery squad at 412-323-7151.

Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or jcato@tribweb.com.

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