‘Where is our help?’ Pittsburgh Cultural District business owners say violence is rising

PITTSBURGH — Business owners in Pittsburgh’s busy Cultural District say they’ve seen an uptick in violence, and they want the mayor to do something about it.

This call for help comes after a man was found shot in an alley in Downtown Pittsburgh late Monday. He later died at a hospital.

Pittsburgh police said they responded to a shots-fired call at the intersection of Fort Duquesne Boulevard and Maddock Place around 11:20 p.m.

When officers arrived, they found a man who was shot in the stomach.

Spencer Warren, the owner of The Warren Bar & Burrow and ETA, was walking to his car when he heard the gunfire.

Warren said he’s used to hearing shots fired in the area. A month ago, a man was found a block away from Monday night’s shooting with a gunshot wound to the thigh.

Warren says the Cultural District needs more support from the city.

“Where is our help? Where is the support for Downtown? Whether it’s all these high school kids fighting or the homeless population that has tripled in size in the last year or two, we need help down here,” he said.

Channel 11 took Warren’s questions and concerns to Mayor Ed Gainey.

“We have bulked up security downtown with police officers between time people are going to work and when they are getting off work,” said Gainey. “I understand this happened later in the evening and we will strategize on that.”

Business owners also say many of downtown’s homeless population have taken up residency in the district’s Katz Plaza.

Gainey said a center will be opened at the end of the month to help with the homeless population, but he said putting people in jail is not the solution if they are not breaking the law.

A spokesperson for the Pittsburgh Cultural District said in a statement that their budget includes over $1 million devoted to hiring off-duty police during events and activities.

Pittsburgh police continue to investigate.