‘Nothing short of a tragedy’: Student dead after being shot twice in van outside Pittsburgh school

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Pittsburgh Police and Pittsburgh School Police were at Oliver Citywide Academy in the city’s Marshall-Shadeland neighborhood after a student was shot in a school van outside the school. All students were rushed back inside the building, and the school was put on a brief lockdown.

Pittsburgh Public Schools confirm that two people approached the van at dismissal and fired shots into the van.

PHOTOS: Student shot outside Oliver Citywide Academy

PPS said that a student, a 15-year-old boy, was in the van and taken to the hospital.

Police said that the student was shot twice in the chest. He was taken to Allegheny General Hospital in critical condition. Just before 5:30 p.m., police confirmed that he died at the hospital.

“Today was nothing short of a tragedy,” interim Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent Wayne Walters said during a virtual news conference. “I stand with the leaders of the school. As a former principal I know just the possibility of an incident like today is something that keeps us up at night.”

Walters said the student, who has not yet been identified, was very well liked by students and staff members.

During the virtual news conference, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey pleaded with the community to contact investigators if anyone had any information on what led to the gunfire.

“There is never a time that our kids should come to school and not return home to their parents and caregivers,” Gainey said. “I am directing my police force to go out there and use all resources necessary to find out what’s going on.”

Police say that they are looking for two suspects, but nobody is in custody.

Pittsburgh Public Schools released this updated statement around 4 p.m.:

The lockdown at the school has been lifted. The school has begun to dismiss students and has arranged transportation for students who take Port Authority. We are grateful for the efforts of staff today to keep students safe and keep families informed. We take the safety of our students and staff as top priority and are cooperating fully with the police investigation into this incident. Due to today’s incident, Pittsburgh Oliver Citywide Academy will transition to remote instruction and learning until Monday, January 24. Our thoughts are with the student injured in today’s incident and his family.

School will be remote until Monday, Jan. 24, school leaders said.

Oliver Citywide Academy is a special education school housing students in grades 3-12. Dismissal typically begins just after 2 p.m. during the week.

It’s not clear at this point what may have led to the shooting.