Three people were shot this morning just before the opening kickoff of a peewee football game at the field adjacent to Pittsburgh Obama International Studies Academy in East Liberty.
A team from the East End and one from Wilkinsburg were getting ready to play when shots were fired in the grandstand at 10:08 a.m.
This evening, Pittsburgh police described the victims: a 27-year-old man from Wilkinsburg, shot in the chest; a 64-year-old woman from Verona, shot in the stomach and shoulder; and a 33-year-old woman, shot in the hand. The first two are in critical condition and underwent emergency surgery at UPMC Presbyterian, the third victim is in stable condition.
According to the police statement, "a fight broke out in the stands, which was related to an ongoing dispute involving the 27-year-old from Wilkinsburg and other males from Wilkinsburg. Gunshots erupted which appear to have been intended for the male victim." The two women were not targets.
The school at 515 N. Highland Ave. until two years ago housed Pittsburgh Peabody High School.
Cheryl Doubt, commander of the Zone 5 police station in East Liberty, said a dispute that led to the shootings began in Wilkinsburg yesterday, continued on Facebook overnight and culminated with the shootings today.
Asked the nature of the dispute, she said she didn't know.
"It doesn't matter to me what it was about," Cmdr. Doubt said. "I'm sure it was really petty."
Parents in the grandstand ducked for cover when the shooting started.
"I thought it was fireworks -- we often do that," said Garrett Barnett, the coach of the Wilkinsburg "baby" team -- 4- to 7-year-olds -- that had just finished its game against the East End Raiders.
"Everything got real quiet, and then real noisy. Kids were crying, they were all scared."
Some parents complained that there were no police officers at the game. They said that after shootings during midget football games in Homewood in 2007 and 2010, police required the organizers to hire officers to provide security.
Cmdr. Doubt said officers were on their way to the games and were to have arrived between 10 and 11 a.m.
Mr. Barnett said the shooting began as the two organizations' 7- to 9-year-olds were about to play, the second game in a five-game day for the two organizations.
The other three games, for older boys, were canceled.
Cmdr. Doubt said police were reviewing surveillance video shot by cameras at the school pointed at the stadium. She said police "have some information on one possible actor."The Pittsburgh police have asked witnesses or anyone with any information on the shooting to call the Homicide Squad at 412-323-7161. Callers may remain anonymous.
Anya Sostek: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1308. First Published October 13, 2012 3:00 PM