Grandmother wounded in East Liberty youth game shooting dies

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PITTSBURGH —

One of three people wounded at a youth football game in East Liberty has died and police Chief Nate Harper said he expects officers to issue arrest warrants for those responsible soon.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner says 64-year-old Charlene Walters, of Verona, died Monday. An autopsy is set Tuesday, but authorities expect that will confirm she died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen she suffered on Saturday.

Channel 11 News learned Tuesday that Walters was at the game to cheer on her grandson who was playing, and her granddaughter who was a cheerleader.

“To be at a football game, watching your grandson play ball and be shot? No, that’s uncalled for. That really hurts,” Walters’ neighbor Rodney Bryant said. “We’re losing good people and good parents to unnecessary violence.”

Bryant called Walters “somebody special” who will be missed.

Two other people were wounded, a 33-year-old woman shot in the hand and a 27-year-old Wilkinsburg man who was critically wounded.

Police have yet to name any suspects or make any arrests.

The shooting happened during a game at Obama International Studies Academy — the former Peabody High School in East Liberty — between teams from East Liberty and Wilkinsburg. Police said it appears to have stemmed from a disagreement between people from Wilkinsburg, including one of the victims, an unidentified man whose 5-year-old son was playing in the game.

Meanwhile, leaders of Pittsburgh's two largest youth football associations said Monday they will beef up police presence at games and screen all attendees for weapons in response to the shooting.

“We will ensure, we will guarantee these games will be safe,” said Harper, who met with association officials prior to an afternoon news conference Monday.

Bob Jones, president of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Youth Athletic Initiative, said the group would hold all youth games at a single location this weekend, though he would not say where. He also said the association would increase the police presence at games from two to three officers, and they would be on hand for all games.

Last weekend’s shooting happened before officers arrived to provide security. Jones said the association, which pays for the police coverage, hasn’t paid for security at early games because it figured any friction between attendees would arise as game days wore on.

The Associated Press and Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.