New details released about 2 Pittsburgh police officers asked to monitor Brighton Heights funeral

PITTSBURGH — Exclusive new details have been released about two Pittsburgh Police officers who were supposed to be monitoring a funeral last Friday when a mass shooting broke out, injuring six people.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 6 people injured after shooting outside funeral in Pittsburgh’s Brighton Heights

Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle broke the story about the two officers just hours after the shooting. Thursday Earle told us about new legislation a city councilman plans to introduce, requiring police to guard funerals and other events of murder victims.

According to law enforcement sources, the two Pittsburgh Police officers who were supposed to be at the church service Friday when shots rang out, had initially been dispatched to a nearby funeral home on Perrysville Avenue.

PHOTOS: Multiple people shot outside of funeral in Brighton Heights

The officers called back into the station and reported that there was no activity at the funeral home. The officers were given permission to go to a uniform store on Neville Island. While on the way to the store, they were called back to the Zone One Police Station on the North Side.

One of the officers apparently had missed a court hearing, and his supervisors wanted a detailed written explanation.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Officials say a request for police presence during Brighton Heights funeral was ‘not fulfilled’

As that officer was finishing up the report at the Zone One Station, the ShotSpotter alert came in for multiple shots fired outside the church in Brighton Heights.

The officers responded to the shooting, where sources said a supervisor questioned why they weren’t at the funeral when the shots were fired.

Some who attended the funeral for John Hornezes said officers were requested in the first place because there was talk of retaliation.

Police said Hornezes had been involved in a shootout on the North Side with several others, that killed two innocent bystanders. Three people have been arrested and charged in that shooting.

On Thursday, acting Police Chief Tom Stangrecki released a statement, calling the failure to respond to the funeral before the shooting unacceptable. He added that an internal investigation is underway to determine exactly what happened.

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey also weighed in on the situation.

“We can’t expect to win the trust of our communities if we don’t respond to the call ... and that those responsible will be held accountable,” said Mayor Gainey.

Sources tell Target 11 a supervisor requested that the officers return to Zone One. It’s unclear if that supervisor is facing any disciplinary action.

And Target 11 has also learned that a lot of questions remain about the request for officers in the first place.

Was there a specific threat? Who knew what, and was that information communicated to the police? If there was a threat of retaliation, why weren’t more heavily armed officers dispatched to the funeral?

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