Police looking for at least 5 involved in shootout at busy shopping center

Shootout in busy shopping center; Police looking for several people

PITTSBURGH — Authorities are looking for several people who they say were involved in a shootout Thursday afternoon in a busy shopping center.

Edgewood police said the incident began at the Edgewood Towne Centre on S Braddock Avenue around 3 p.m.

According to police, two men were inside the Villa shoe store when a third man came in and began shooting at them. The two men ran outside and returned fire.

Police said Footlocker was another scene where bullets were found. The nearby Wendy’s was a third scene.

At least five shell casings were recovered in the parking lot, authorities said.

“Thank God, they're not good shots. Otherwise, we'd have bodies lying everywhere,” said Edgewood Police Chief Bob Payne.

Maya Jones, who just got to the shopping center to go to work, told Channel 11 that people inside a green Jeep and black car exchanged more gunfire as they sped away from the scene.

One person showed up at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. That person, who had not been identified, underwent surgery Friday for a gunshot wound to his wrist.

County police have taken over the investigation.

Thursday wasn’t the first time a shooting has taken place at the Edgewood Towne Centre.

Three innocent bystanders were shot in March 2013.

In that case, three people were charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and related crimes. The three victims have since recovered.

Payne told Channel 11 Friday that the borough and Edgewood Towne Centre owner Phillips Edison have been negotiating since last summer to install a new, large-scale camera system at the busy shopping spot.

“Most importantly, it could act as a deterrent from criminal activity, and also, it can act as a means for us to gather evidence after-the-fact,” said Payne.

The chief said there’s been no need to change how much they patrol the mall because he said it’s always been a priority.

Payne said he had actually driven past the shooting scene Thursday about 12 minutes before the shots were fired.

“It's a place we want to keep viable because of the shootings in the area in the past, and it was thought that maybe a security system working in other parts of the country would certainly benefit us here,” he said.