Mayor Gainey urges communities to help in resolving ongoing violence

PITTSBURGH — Two devastating crimes this week have sparked outrage and outcry from Pittsburgh city leaders.

On Friday, Pittsburgh police and Mayor Ed Gainey held separate news conferences during which they discussed violence in the city, including the shooting death of a 4-year-old.

Police say Kaari Thompson was shot and killed while with her mother in Lincoln Lemington on Thursday.

RELATED COVERAGE: 4-year-old girl dies after shooting in Pittsburgh, police asking parents to monitor children

“There is no reason that a 4-year-old child should’ve been murdered because of gun violence in our city,” said Gainey.

“I am very touched by this tragic situation that occurred yesterday. This 4-year-old baby won’t be able to enjoy the holiday season like any other girl would do,” said Assistant Chief Lavonnie Bickerstaff with the Pittsburgh Police Department.

Thompson’s mother was also shot and is fighting for her life.

Channel 11 learned she was out on bond, awaiting trial on attempted homicide charges.

She’s accused of shooting two teenagers in Homewood last August.

Police wouldn’t say if she was targeted but are urging parents to talk to their kids.

“I appeal to parents. I know that you know that we can do better, and we must do better,” said Bickerstaff.

Gainey also discussed a crime that happened downtown on Tuesday.

Four young men, possibly teenagers, were caught on camera with BB guns, firing at a man that appeared to be passed out on a city sidewalk along Coffey Way.

RELATED COVERAGE: Victim dies after being assaulted with BB gun in Pittsburgh

The victim later died.

Police say they know who the suspects are, but it’s not clear if they’ve been charged.

“This is a callout for everyone. In the spirit of peace,” said Gainey, “help us help our communities get better. Help us help our communities resolve conflict that doesn’t led to gun violence. We need you.”

The mayor tells Channel 11, since his time in office, more tips have come in that have assisted in cases. He’s encouraging the public to continue this trend.

The mayor’s office is also working with schools to establish programs for the city’s youth and create a downtown ambassadors program.

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