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Valley News Dispatch

New Kensington residents living near Tuesday's shooting scene describe what they experienced

Madasyn Czebiniak
| Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, 5:57 p.m.
Officers found more than 20 shell casings from three guns in the area of the shooting, which took place on McCargo Street near Freeport Road on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018.
Officers found more than 20 shell casings from three guns in the area of the shooting, which took place on McCargo Street near Freeport Road on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018.

Donna Schreckengost was sitting on her porch playing a video game late Tuesday morning when she heard what sounded like fireworks being shot off near her home along Freeport Road in New Kensington.

At first, she ignored it.

Then, she saw flashes from gunshots.

“I grabbed my phone, left my glasses out here, and (ran inside to call) 911,” Schreckengost said. “I didn’t see anything except the flashes. All I could do was call and report that there (were) gunshots on Freeport Road and McCargo (Street).”

Two men, who police did not identify, were wounded in the shooting, which was reported shortly before noon on Tuesday.

Police were called to three crime scenes in two towns — McCargo Street, the Fueland gas station on Seventh Street, and in the area of Corbet Street and Fourth Avenue in Tarentum.

Police Chief Bob Deringer said a “shootout” took place on McCargo Street near Freeport Road. The intersection is a school bus stop for students in the New Kensington-Arnold School District.

“Luckily, the kids were in school,” Schreckengost said. “I (have) never seen nothing like that happen during the day. It’s usually at night.”

District Assistant Superintendent Jon Banko said the shooting occurred well before school dismissal times.

He said the district moved the bus stop from McCargo Street to Elizabeth Street while police investigated, and no one has called him with concerns regarding the shooting.

“We notified everybody and there were no issues,” he said. “By the time all our kids got out, the incident was over and the police were just about wrapping up their investigation.”

Deringer said there had been no updates in the investigation as of Thursday afternoon. It remains ongoing.

The Westmoreland Detective Bureau is assisting.

What we know

• One victim was believed to have been shot in the shoulder and upper chest, and the other was shot in the upper arm. Both were taken to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. One was released Wednesday and arrested by the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office on an unrelated robbery warrant, according to Deringer.

• Officers found more than 20 shell casings from three guns in the area of the shooting. The majority were in the middle of the street. A couple were found in a yard and on a sidewalk.

• A vehicle picked up one of the victims, as well as another man, and dropped them off on Linden Avenue, near the Fueland gas station. He said the victim and the other man went into the gas station and someone called an ambulance.

• Shortly after the initial 911 call, Tarentum police found an SUV believed to have been linked to the shooting in the area of Corbet Street and Fourth Avenue in Tarentum. It apparently had been shot at multiple times. There were multiple bullet holes in the SUV and both front tires were flat.

• Police took photos of the SUV, impounded it, and planned to execute a search warrant on it on Wednesday.

• As of Thursday, the two victims weren’t cooperating with police.

Residents weigh-in

Two other women who live near the shooting scene said they didn’t see the shooting, but heard the gunshots.

Jessica Vivola said she was asleep when the shots rang out, and the noise startled her awake. She said police officers found three shell casings in her front yard.

“It was crazy,” she said.

Jocelyn Burns, who was inside her house installing a door sweep with her son at the time of the shooting, was shocked that it happened during the day near the bus stop.

“There was still school buses going up and down this street,” she said. “I’m so glad no kid got hurt, and no parent standing there with their child. That would have been a travesty.”

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, mczebiniak@tribweb.com, or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.

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