Shooting spurs increased security, metal detectors at youth football games

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PITTSBURGH —

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 a shooting at a weekend game that left three people wounded.

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

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.

Harper said the man, 27, was in critical condition at UPMC Presbyterian, Oakland. A woman, 64, also remained in critical condition and officials described her condition as grave. The third victim, a woman, 33, who was shot in the hand, is out of the hospital.

Harper said police intend to make “a few arrests within the next 72 hours” in the shooting.

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.

Jones and Renee Wright, president of the Western Pennsylvania Youth Athletic Association, said fans also will be screened with metal-detecting wands when they arrive.

This article was written by Channel 11 News echange partners at TribLIVE.