MONROEVILLE, Pa. - Police were called to a report of a large fight and shots fired outside a restaurant at the Monroeville Mall early Saturday morning.
According to police, the incident occurred about 1 a.m. during an event at Winghart's Whiskey & Burger Bar. Between 500 and 1,000 people attended.
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During a news briefing Saturday afternoon, Monroeville Police Chief Douglas Cole said shots had been fired in the parking lot. No one was injured by the gunfire.
“We obviously do not know where the gunshots came from. We have positions based on shell casings that were found in the parking lot,” said Cole. “At this point, we don’t believe the gunshots were targeted at the police officers. We’re not sure whether they were shot in the air or targeted another individual.”
Cole said that after the gunfire, vehicles began speeding out of the parking lot and the crowd began to disperse.
A 25-year-old man was injured during the incident, but it is unclear how he was hurt. He was taken to Forbes Regional Hospital.
A 19-year-old woman was taken to UPMC East Hospital after suffering a medical emergency unrelated to the incident.
Officials said overcrowding was an issue at the restaurant, where college students dressed in all white for the #AllWhiteAffair2015 event.
According to an online listing for the #AllWhiteAffair2015, students from Slippery Rock University, University of Pittsburgh, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and California University of Pennsylvania were bused to the event.
Police arrested one person for disorderly conduct.
Cole said the venue for the event was originally supposed to be in White Oak, but was moved to Winghart's.
“Mall management was unaware that that was going to occur. Obviously, the Monroeville Police Department was unaware that that was going to occur,” said Cole.
Prasad Bandhu, owner of Winghart’s, said they were told the event was to be a Slippery Rock fraternity party, but were misled as to how large the crowd would be.
“We are upset and disappointed in the events that occurred in the Monroeville location and we would like everyone to know that this does not reflect the Winghart’s culture. It was never our intention for this to occur and we are extremely saddened by the ruthless acts that were carried out,” Bandhu said in a statement. “We are wishing the best for Monroeville Mall and the community and will do everything we can to support and promote a safe and thriving neighborhood.”
Meanwhile, Monroeville Mayor Greg Erosenko is placing the blame on the restaurant owner for not following proper protocol.
“It was irresponsible of the business owner. They didn’t contact mall management nor us that they were having this event,” said Erosenko.
According the mayor, the restaurant’s owner will be leaving the business soon due to 5 to 6 months of unpaid rent.
The Monroeville Mall was closed at the time of Saturday’s incident. Police are looking into whether Winghart's violated any occupancy codes.
Saturday was not the first time the Monroeville Mall has been the scene of violent activity.
In February, three people were injured when a teenager fired shots inside the mall’s Macy’s department store. The mall was also the site of a massive December 2014 brawl that broke out while about 1,000 children and teenagers were present.
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