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Gunfire probed in NK, Arnold

| Sunday, Sept. 1, 2002

NEW KENSINGTON: Police are unclear if there is a connection between the wounding of a man Saturday in New Kensington and two reports of shots being fired later in the day in New Kensington and Arnold.

Police said Keith Whitmer, 20, no address given, was hit by gunfire about 1 a.m. in the 400 block of 10th Street in New Ken-sington.

Police Sgt. Robert Laporte said someone took Whitmer to the Alle-Kiski Medical Center, New Kensington (formerly Citizens General Hospital) at about 1:14 a.m. The urgi-care center had closed at 11 p.m., so he was taken by ambulance to an unnamed hospital, police said.

Laporte said detectives are investigating.

"There is an unknown assailant or assailants and the circumstance is unknown," he said.

Laporte said it's also unclear if the wounding is related to a report of shots fired later Saturday.

At mid-afternoon shift change, an officer heard shots along Third Avenue in New Kensington, Laporte said. Police couldn't find any evidence, but later said a 28-year-old black man went to the police station to file a report that someone had shot at him.

The unidentified man was unharmed. Once again, police couldn't find shell casings or bullet damage.

Then, at about 6 p.m., Arnold and New Kensington officers rushed to Third Avenue in Arnold for another report of shots.

Laporte and Arnold Sgt. Eric Doutt said police couldn't find evidence although a crowd had gathered at the scene.

"There were about 30 people on the street. No one saw anything," Laporte said.

Everyone said they hadn't seen anything unusual, Doutt said.

Police said it's possible that they talked with the shooter, but they had no way of knowing for certain.

The first police radio report said more than one person may have been injured, but when police arrived, no one with injuries was found, Doutt said.

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