Pennsylvania

Confrontation led to fatal shooting at private party at Pa. community center, police say

Officials said among those wounded in this shooting were students from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Waynesburg University

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A confrontation between several people at a private party inside a Pennsylvania community center led to gunfire that killed one man and wounded eight other people, including some university students, authorities said Wednesday.

State police in Indiana County are declining to release information about suspects or the renter of the Chevy Chase Community Center in White Township, about 50 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, where gunfire erupted early Sunday.

Police said in a statement Wednesday that one critically wounded person is expected to survive and all others are stable or have been discharged. University officials have said the wounded included two students from the nearby Indiana University of Pennsylvania and three from Waynesburg University.

Police said their investigation indicates that “a confrontation occurred inside the building between several individuals and that other uninvolved persons in attendance were inadvertently struck by gunfire.”

“Whether or not the involved individuals were invited guests to the party remains under investigation,” police said.

Police had said they were trying to find out who rented the center and who was present as host of the party, but on Wednesday they said suspect information as well as the identity of “the person or entity” that rented the center would be withheld “to protect the integrity of the investigation.”

Police said more than 150 people were present and nine people between the ages of 18 and 23 were hit when the shooting started at about 12:35 a.m. Sunday, sending people diving from windows and bolting through doors and between railings trying to escape, police said.

Jamar M. Porterfield Herriot Jr., 22, of Homestead died at the scene. An 18-year-old man from Chicago who was last reported in critical condition is expected to survive, police said Wednesday.

Also wounded were another 18-year-old from Arcadia, Florida, and six men and women from Pennsylvania — a 19-year-old man from Braddock, a 20-year-old man from Pittsburgh, a 22-year-old man from Turtle Creek, a 19-year-old woman from Pittsburgh, a 19-year-old woman from Chambersburg, and a 23-year-old woman whose hometown hasn't yet been confirmed.

Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers has announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to arrests and prosecution, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has offered up to $5,000 more, police said. Investigators have been seeking surveillance video, asking residents and businesses to check doorbell cameras and requesting that anyone missing items — such as the cellphones and clothing found at the center — to contact them, authorities said.

The shooting was about 2 miles 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.

Stacey Brodak, Waynesburg University's vice president for institutional advancement and university relations, said three students at the Greene County university were among the injured.

“We continue to pray for all of those affected by the incident, especially the victims and their families,” she said, adding that counseling services and support were being offered for those impacted.

The Chevy Chase Community Center was built in 1971 by a group established in 1969 to fight poverty and help those in need, according to its website. District Attorney Robert Manzi Jr., a board member, said the center provides “meals and a community atmosphere for people in need.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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