Pittsburgh police stop possible shooting outside school

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh police, with the help of alert community members, stopped a possible shooting outside of a school two weeks ago.

According to police, officers were called to Westinghouse Academy just before 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 15 for a report of a suspicious vehicle circling the school as students were prepping for dismissal.

A bus driver and a concerned parent told Pittsburgh Public Schools police that they had seen a gray SUV circling the area with at least three males wearing masks inside.

“You’re not driving around a neighborhood with a ski mask and a gun for entertainment. There’s a reason you’re driving around that way. That’s the type of behavior we need reported,” Pittsburgh mayor Ed Gainey said.

Twenty minutes later, Pittsburgh police saw the car travel across N. Murtland Street at a high rate of speed. The SUV was driving recklessly through the area as students were walking, police said.

Officers tried to conduct a traffic stop on the car in the 6800 block of Frankstown Avenue, but the driver refused to stop until he reached Washington Boulevard.

Police said responding officers told the driver to park the car and throw the keys out of the window. The three males were detained and were found to not have weapons on them.

Police also said the SUV, which was stolen, had a firearm and spent shell casing inside. There was also a gas canister and a large cloth wick in the trunk which are often used to burn vehicles that are stolen or used in violent crimes.

The three juveniles were questioned and two of them were arrested and charged with multiple counts, including receiving stolen property, firearms not to be carried without a license, driving without a license, incendiary devices and reckless driving. The third was released to the custody of a guardian.

Pittsburgh Police would like to acknowledge the quick actions of observant individuals who reported suspicious activity and very likely prevented a crime.

“I am certain that the officer’s actions, the community’s response to suspicious behavior, thwarted another school shooting in the city of Pittsburgh, specifically Westinghouse,” Pittsburgh police chief Larry Scirotto said.

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