1 Killed and 8 Wounded in Shooting at Pennsylvania Community Center Party

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
October 8, 2023US News
1 Killed and 8 Wounded in Shooting at Pennsylvania Community Center Party
The scene of a fatal shooting at the Chevy Chase Community Center in White Township, Indiana County, Pa., on Oct. 8, 2023. (Sean Stipp/TribLIVE.com via AP)

INDIANA, Pa.—One person was killed and eight were wounded in a shooting during a private party at a Pennsylvania community center early Sunday, authorities said.

State police in Indiana County said troopers, local officers and emergency services responded at 12:35 a.m. Sunday to the shooting at the Chevy Chase Community Center in White Township, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh.

Nine people between the ages of 18 and 23 were shot, including a 22-year-old Pittsburgh man who died at the scene, police said. Lt. Col. George Bivens said investigators believe more than one shooter was involved but declined to say how many there were.

“Dozens of gunshots were fired within the confines of the building,” said Bivens, acknowledging later that “It may well be that we had a gunfight inside this building.” Many fired shell casings and “multiple firearms” had been recovered, along with other evidence such as clothing and cellphones, he said.

Bivens said, however, that officials believe events were “isolated to the attendees at that party” and did not believe the threat was directed at the community at large.

Bivens said police were originally called about midnight about excessive noise coming from the building, and patrol officers were assured that the noise would be turned down. A state police mounted unit was sent to monitor the situation and for crowd control if needed.

Upon arrival, mounted unit members heard gunshots inside, called for backup, and then heard more gunshots and saw people fleeing from doors and windows. Some began to aid to injured people “collapsing outside the building,” and others went inside and found more victims, Bivens said. No state police or horses were injured, he said.

Bivens said more than 150 people were believed to be present at the time of the shooting, and the building wasn’t particularly large and would have been “very full” at the time. When the shooting began, those inside “exited that building in any way possible,” he said.

“You can imagine the chaos that would ensue from a number of gunshots in a relatively confined space,” he said. “People dove through windows, people ran through doors, ran through porch railings, trying to get away from that scene.”

An 18-year-old man from Chicago was critically injured, and an 18-year-old man from Florida was also among the victims. The others who were shot were all from Pennsylvania: three men ages 19, 20 and 22; two 19-year-old women; and a 23-year-old woman.

The wounded were taken to Indiana Regional Medical Center in Indiana, Pennsylvania; UPMC Presbyterian and UPMC Marcy in Pittsburgh; and Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown. Six remain hospitalized, one critically, while two had been treated and released, police said later Sunday.

Officials are tracking down who rented the venue for the party, which required payment of a fee before entry, and who was hosting the event, Bivens said.

No suspects were in custody, and police asked anyone with information to contact troopers in Indiana County. Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers announced a $10,000 reward for information in the case leading to arrests and prosecution, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has offered up to $5,000 more.

The shooting scene is about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, which was having its homecoming weekend. The school’s vice president for student affairs, Thomas Segar, said two of the injured were students, and officials were working with their families to provide support. Campus activities were going on as scheduled with enhanced police presence, a university official said.

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