At least six people were injured after a shooting broke out Friday outside a Pittsburgh church where a funeral was taking place, police said.
A victim originally reported in critical condition is now in stable condition, among five others also being treated for injuries, Pittsburgh Police Commander Richard Ford said at a Friday afternoon news conference.
At least one of the victims in stable condition was taken to the city’s children’s hospital, Ford said.
Two “persons of interest” were arrested Friday night in connection with the shooting, police said. Authorities have not identified those detained or explained how they are linked to the shooting.
Officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “are on site to assist the Pittsburgh Police Bureau with this incident,” Special Agent Robert Cucinotta told CNN, and declined. to comment further.
Police were alerted to two ShotSpotter activations shortly after noon on Friday. The first alert showed five shots fired and the second alert 15 shots fired, Ford said. Once at the scene, responding officers determined that gunshots were heard outside the church. It is believed that at least some of those shot were attending the funeral, Ford said.
The incident “obviously appears to be the result of a targeted shooting,” Ford said.
“We believe there are people who will resort to violence through firearms, and that’s a danger to anyone when that might happen,” Ford said.
Ford also confirmed that several suspected shooters were involved in the incident, but provided no further information on potential suspects. The investigation, including reviewing video of the incident, is ongoing, Ford said.
Of the six gunshot victims, four went to nearby hospitals and two were taken by medics, Ford said. He declined to release their ages or other identifying information at this time as police are still working to notify families.
All schools near the shooting have been notified that the area is now safe for the removal of students, according to Ford.
Destiny of Faith Church senior pastor Reverend Brenda Gregg said that in 30 years of working in pastoral ministry, Friday’s shooting “was one of the most devastating days in [her] life.”
Gregg added that it was a difficult time “to organize a funeral for a young man and to be able to work with his family to put an end to what had happened in their lives, that we had people coming to the church and fired shots at people”.
Despite the shooting, the church will continue with its Halloween harvest event to continue bringing the community together, Gregg said.
“Thinking about it, I think we’re stronger together and we want to continue to have those things that would make sense in the community, and that’s we need a place for our kids to come,” said said Gregg.
Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey acknowledged that the community and the families of the victims were hurting and that Friday’s shooting was something not all of them expected.
“I never could have imagined it. Never, that we would be shooting on holy ground,” Gainey said. “We will be working around the clock to do whatever is necessary to apprehend those who did this heinous thing today. ‘today.”
Gainey also urged the community to provide any information that would help the police investigation and help the community recover from the incident.
“If you work with us, if you talk to us, we will get justice and we will get healing,” Gainey said.