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2 injured in spate of overnight shootings in Homewood, Lincoln-Lemington

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By Margaret Harding
Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, 8:48 a.m.
 

Pittsburgh police and Public Works crews moved heavy equipment into Homewood on Tuesday, cutting weeds and removing mounds of soil on vacant lots where criminals could hide.

A rash of shootings prompted city officials to clear the lots, said Public Safety Director Michael Huss, who coordinated the work. Crews cut overgrowth on 20 to 30 lots that gave shooters places to hide.

“We're trying to eliminate these ambush points,” Huss said. “After the shootings last night, I had enough.”

Ashley Smith, a mother of three, watched from Kedron and Murtland streets as heavy equipment removed weeds and dirt from a nearby lot.

“It's good they're doing this,” said Smith, 28, of Homewood. “Maybe a lot of things will stop. If they don't have bushes to run in, where are they going to hide? They have to keep running.”

Smith said she'd like the city to tear down abandoned houses, provide more activities for children and put up cameras in the area, particularly on back streets.

“A lot of people pay attention to cameras,” Smith said. “If they notice cameras, they don't do a lot of their activities.”

Police believe someone crept out of weeds on a lot at Frankstown and North Lang avenues and fired on a man, 24, in the driver's seat of a parked rental car about 12:20 a.m. The man crawled to the nearby 2nd Time Around bar, where patrons called 911. Doctors at UPMC Presbyterian upgraded the man's condition to stable after surgery.

That lot was cleared by Tuesday afternoon, as was a smaller one between two houses on Rowan Street in Lincoln-Lemington, where police said a man fired at another man just before 1 a.m. No one was struck, but cars were damaged.

“We've identified these lots as problem spots,” Huss said. “We're trying everything we can. It's a complicated problem.”

Gunfire damaged vehicles in a shooting on North Lang at 8:20 p.m. Monday, police said.

Another man, 23, went to UPMC Mercy for a leg wound when he was shot at 1:30 a.m. while walking along Bennett Street in Homewood, police said.

On Friday, a man was shot in the shoulder near a vacant lot on Shetland and Paulson streets in Homewood, Zone 5 Cmdr. Timothy O'Connor said. Crews cleared that lot, bringing with them a K9 officer whose dog searched for guns.

“These shooters are using these thick brushes as concealment to shoot people,” O'Connor said.

O'Connor said the city only has one camera in the Zone 5 district, at Penn and Highland avenues. He said he's organizing a meeting on Friday between city officials to discuss putting cameras in Homewood.

City Council in April voted to spend more than $1 million on 60 cameras and 45 gunshot sensors in the East End. Councilman Ricky Burgess, who sponsored the bill, did not respond to requests for comment on the project's status.

Margaret Harding is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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