WILKINSBURG, Penn. – A backyard cookout turned into a bloodbath overnight in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania — ending with five people dead, three others hospitalized and a manhunt for two suspected shooters.
Authorities are still trying to determine the identity of all the victims as well as those of the shooters in the borough just east of Pittsburgh.
“Right now, we are asking for anybody who heard or saw anything in the area … to call (police),” Allegheny County police Lt. Andrew Schurman told reporters early Thursday. “We don’t have a lot of details.”
The first shots rang out from an alley behind a house in Wilkinsburg shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday. Partygoers responded by trying to escape through the back of the house — only to have someone open fire from a yard adjacent to the residence, according to police.
Jackie Johnson recalled hearing a constant rat-a-tat of about 30 gunshots.
“When I came out, people were screaming and running,” the neighbor told CNN affiliate KDKA-TV. “And bodies were laying on the … porch.”
Police arrived to find four people — three females and one male — lying dead on the home’s back porch. A fifth person, a woman, succumbed to her wounds at a nearby hospital.
Two wounded men were in critical condition and a woman was in stable condition Thursday morning at a hospital.
Ballistic tests indicate the pair thought to have shot them escaped on foot, with no details offered on where they went, how they knew the victims (if at all) or whether they eventually used a getaway car.
Investigators cordoned off the area around the home in Wilkinsburg, a borough of about 15,000 people.
In video of the shooting scene from CNN affiliate WPXI-TV, a woman approached the house and cried out, “I’ve lost my baby.”
Another woman grappled to make sense not only of the carnage but also that it happened in her neighborhood.
“This street is always quiet,” she told the TV station. “There’s nothing but kids on this street.”
Johnson similarly had trouble digesting what happened next door.
“People’s lives taken like that, just on the drop of a hat,” she told KDKA. “It’s just insane.
“And it needs to stop. It has to stop.”