Police said at least six people were injured when gunfire erupted Friday outside a Pittsburgh church where a funeral was being held.
At a news conference Friday afternoon, Pittsburgh Police Chief Richard Ford said one of the people who was initially said to be in critical condition is now in stable condition. Five other people are still being treated for injuries.
Ford said at least one of the victims was taken to the city’s Children’s Hospital in stable condition.
Police said two “persons of interest” were in custody Friday night in connection with the shooting. The people who were taken into custody have not been named and authorities have not said how they are believed to be connected to the shooting.
Special Agent Robert Cucinotta told CNN that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are on the scene to assist the Pittsburgh Police Bureau with the situation. He refused to say anything else.
Shortly after noon on Friday, two ShotSpotter alerts were sent to police. Ford said the first beep meant five rounds were fired and the second beep meant 15 rounds were fired.
When police arrived, they found that the shooting was coming from outside the church. Ford said they believe at least some of the people shot were at the funeral. Ford said it appears clear the shooting was intended to injure someone.
“We think there are people who will resort to gun violence, and that’s a danger to anyone when that can happen,” Ford said.
Ford also said there was more than one alleged shooter, but did not provide further information on any possible suspects. Ford said the investigation is still ongoing and video of the incident is being reviewed.
Ford said four of the six people shot went to nearby hospitals on their own and that two were taken to hospitals by paramedics. He did not say how old they were or anything else that could help locate them, as police are still trying to contact their families.
Ford says all schools near where the shooting happened have been told it is now safe for students to leave.
Officials are asking the public for help
The Rev. Brenda Gregg, senior pastor of Destiny of Faith Church, said that in her 30 years of pastoral ministry, Friday’s shooting “is one of the most devastating days in the world. [her] life.”
Gregg added that it was a difficult time “to have a funeral for a young man and to be able to work with his family to wrap up what happened in their lives, that we had people coming to church and shooting guns at people.” .
Gregg said even though there was a shooting, the church will still have its Halloween harvest event to bring people together.
“Thinking about it, I think we’re stronger together and that we want to continue to have those things that would make sense in the community, which is that we need a place for our kids to come,” Gregg said .
Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey said the community and the victims’ families are hurting and that Friday’s shooting was something no one expected to happen.
“I just never could have imagined it. Never that we were going to shoot on holy ground,” Gainey said. “We will be working around the clock to do whatever it takes to catch those who did this heinous thing today.
Gainey also asked people in the community to come forward with any information that could assist police in their investigation and help the community come to terms with what happened.
“If you work with us, if you talk to us, we will get justice and we will get healing,” Gainey said.
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