New Kensington police step up patrols in area of deadly shooting |
Valley News Dispatch

New Kensington police step up patrols in area of deadly shooting

Madasyn Czebiniak
Madasyn Czebiniak | Tribune-Review
Gregory L. Smith, 69, of New Kensington, was delivering newspapers when he was shot and killed in New Kensington early Thursday, May 23, 2019. His car crashed into a fence in the 1200 block of Kenneth Avenue. Gregory L. Smith, 69, of New Kensington, was delivering newspapers when he was shot and killed in New Kensington early Thursday, May 23, 2019. His car crashed into a fence in the 1200 block of Kenneth Avenue.

New Kensington police have increased patrols in the area of a shooting early Thursday that left a newspaper delivery driver dead.

Police Chief Bob Deringer told the Tribune-Review on Friday he had no updates on the investigation into the death of Gregory Smith, 69, of New Kensington.

“No new leads, no new information, nothing,” Deringer said. “We have no idea what the motive was for that.”

Smith, an Army veteran, was on his newspaper delivery route when he was shot in the head at the intersection of Catalpa Street and Kenneth Avenue. He was delivering the Tribune-Review.

Deringer said police continue to canvass the area for potential witnesses and video footage.

It’s been difficult to track down witnesses because the shooting happened shortly after 3 a.m., and many people who live in the area don’t have video surveillance, Deringer said.

The chief said the pastor of Allegheny Valley Church of God near the intersection of Catalpa and Kenneth shared video captured by the church’s surveillance system, but a camera pointed toward the intersection where the shooting happened wasn’t working at the time of the shooting.

“It’s just unfortunate that the camera that would’ve caught the whole incident was not working,” Deringer said.

The beefed-up patrols are being done from Seventh Street to the Arnold line and Constitution Boulevard to Freeport Road, Deringer said.

This is the second time a man has been shot in the head and killed in that area of the city in the last six months.

Jonathan Woods, 23, of North Carolina was shot Nov. 21 in the 100 block of Catalpa Street. He died Nov. 26 in UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh. The investigation into that shooting remains ongoing.

“I want to get this solved,” Deringer said of the latest shooting. “This seems like a senseless killing. The person or persons responsible need to be put in jail for their actions.”

Deringer said police were called to the 1200 block of Kenneth for a report of shots fired and a car into a fence. When officers arrived, they found a gray Chevrolet Impala crashed into a fence and up on a sidewalk in front of two houses. The vehicle was still in drive with the engine running.

Deringer said Smith, the driver and only occupant of the car, was unconscious and bleeding severely from a head wound.

Police removed him from the car and performed first aid and CPR until paramedics arrived. Smith, who had been shot once, died at the scene.

Police recovered multiple shell casings from the scene.

Smith’s family members are grieving and in shock about how he died.

“He was just doing his route,” said Jeanne Smith, his sister-in-law. “We have no idea why somebody would even shoot him. Greg was friendly with everybody.”

Smith, who was single, used to have lunch at Lighthouse Ministries in Arnold.

Volunteer Jane Augusty said Smith was a quiet man who liked to drink coffee.

“He was just a quiet guy, went on about his business, passed his papers,” she said. “As far I know, he was never in any kind of trouble or anything like that. We all feel bad.”

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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