Pittsburgh police to step up walking patrols to help combat wave of violence
Pittsburgh police will step up patrols in the city's eastern neighborhoods to combat an uptick in homicides, many of which appear to be drug-related, officials said on Monday.
Homicide detectives were closing in on a suspect in one of several recent shootings in a North Side public housing complex, officials said.
Police Lt. Daniel Herrmann said police know “key actors” in a shooting on Wednesday that killed one man and injured another in the Northview Heights housing complex.
“We need more information to pull people off the street,” Herrmann said. “We know some of the key actors, but we don't have enough to get a warrant yet.”
City officials at a news conference announced beat patrols in response to the increase in killings and urged people to cooperate with investigators.
“We know people are afraid, but at some point … we need to take back those communities,” acting police Chief Regina McDonald said.
Herrmann said the Northview Heights shooting appeared to have some connection to drugs, and a fatal shooting in the housing complex on Friday seemed to stem from a dispute between two people. Investigators haven't found anything that indicates the shootings are connected.
Detectives were back at the housing complex investigating the death of James Nelson, 33, whose body was found there on Sunday night. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office has not ruled on the cause of death of the Perry South resident, but police are treating it as suspicious.
The latest shooting occurred shortly after 11:30 p.m. Monday when a 24-year-old man was reportedly shot in the back in the 2400 block of Bedford Avenue in the Hill District. He was taken to UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland.
McDonald said police are working with the Pittsburgh Housing Authority to increase security. A spokeswoman for the housing authority declined to comment.
“There's no rhyme or reason” to the shootings, Herr-mann said.
Police investigated 11 homicides in the city in July, bringing the number to 44 this year. That compares with 46 total in 2013 and a 10-year average of 52 homicides.
McDonald said three detectives were assigned to the homicide squad to fill vacancies, and police have solved 18 of the 44 cases.
In addition to shootings in Northview Heights, one man was found shot to death in Homewood on Thursday morning, and a shooting outside a Strip District bar early on Saturday killed a man and injured five.
The shooting in the Strip appeared to stem from an argument between two groups of motorcyclists, Herrmann said. Detectives reviewed surveillance video from inside and outside the bar and identified a “primary target,” but they want to interview more people, he said.
A warrant has been issued for Zachary Threats, 36, who is known to frequent the North Side, East End neighborhoods and McKees Rocks, Herrmann said. He is charged with the July 4 slaying of Kaamil Arnold, 30, who was gunned down in a Homewood kitchen where he was preparing food for a holiday cookout.
Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar said it's tough to determine the reason for the increase in homicides but said many are related to drugs. City police are working with federal and state agencies on long-term drug investigations. Bucar said more beat patrols will begin to address the problem in the short term.
Thirteen new officers will patrol eastern neighborhoods that make up the Zone 5 police district beginning next week, McDonald said. They are recruits who went through expedited training at the police academy because they had experience at other departments, McDonald said.
“The idea is for them to get to know the community and for the community to get to know the officers,” McDonald said.
Seventeen homicides happened in Zone 5, where 20 shootings have occurred and five people were killed since June 1, Cmdr. Timothy O'Connor said. Two juveniles were hurt in a shooting in Lincoln-Lemington on Sunday, he said. O'Connor said he will put beat officers in Homewood and Garfield to deal with quality-of-life issues such as prostitution, public drinking and open drug use.
Margaret Harding is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Staff writer Michael Hasch contributed.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Pirates’ outfield may have few defensive peers
- Mancuso running for register of wills in Fayette
- Hempfield man accused of setting Dumpster ablaze in Fayette County
- Monday - March 30, 2015
- Penguins’ Letang leaves hospital, out with concussion
- Turnpike construction worker hurt in fall
- DEP grants 18-month extension on stormwater control effort
- Falling bricks close 2 Squirrel Hill businesses
- Owner of Penn Hills tombstone business pleads guilty to swindling the bereaved out of $90K
- Company pulls out of Lawrence County casino project