Police: Homestead violence may be tied to rivalry in Hazelwood
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Police on Friday were investigating whether a shooting in Homestead that touched off a chase into Hazelwood was in retaliation for other recent acts of violence in the borough.
The latest to be wounded was a 20-year-old Swissvale man, who was shot in the back while walking with a group of people in the 300 block of Plum Way, police said. Homestead officers on patrol two blocks away heard the gunfire, saw the group scatter and found the man lying in the street.
A white Mazda sped away from the scene, and officers followed it over the Glenwood Bridge as other police agencies joined the pursuit. The chase ended about three miles away on Flowers Street near Monongahela Avenue in Hazelwood, where the car crashed into a cement wall allowing officers to converge on it.
The driver, Josh Bristo, 20, of West Mifflin, got out with a gun in hand, and police officers stunned him with a Taser before putting him in handcuffs, Homestead police Chief Jeffrey DeSimone said. The passenger ran up a hillside, and Allegheny County police were still searching for him Friday night.
Mr. Bristo was charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy, drug charges, fleeing and eluding police, and other offenses. Police said they found him with heroin and a large amount of cash.
Detectives recovered a pair of handguns, one at the scene and another that was tossed from the vehicle during the chase, County Police Superintendent James Morton said. He said detectives were investigating whether the shooting was linked to other recent cases, including the Aug. 2 killing of Jamar Finn, 19, inside his home on East 10th Street. Finn lived in Hazelwood until about four years ago, his mother said.
Twenty minutes after that shooting, a pair of gunmen fired 26 rounds into a car on 17th Avenue, injuring three.
The man wounded Friday, who was hospitalized in critical condition, was also one of three people who were shot in May at the Charlie Batch Playground. Police said at the time that the gunfire spawned from a feud between groups from Hazelwood and Homestead.
"There may be a problem between some people who happen to be from Homestead or Hazelwood, but it is not necessarily a Homestead-Hazelwood feud," Chief DeSimone said. Of the latest shooting, he said, "I am quite certain to say it is not random. ... Homestead is not a bad place; we just have some bad people."
First Published August 11, 2012 12:00 am