As violence mounts on the south aspect, group leaders name for change – CBS Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Community leaders and law enforcement agencies are calling for a change after two separate shootings in South Side on Friday.
Many people in the city are fed up with the violence, including Rev. Eileen Smith, executive director of the South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace.
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“So fed up, it was such a monstrous crime, heartless, cold-hearted,” said Rev. Smith.
At around 6.45pm on Friday evening, Homestead’s Darian Simpkins, 29, was shot dead in front of children playing football for the Southside Bears on Quarry Field in the South Side Slopes.
“It has to stop. We cannot allow our children to be traumatized like that; Fathers murdered in front of their children. We can’t have that anymore, ”said Rev. Smith.
At around 1:30 a.m. early Friday morning, three men were shot dead near South 18th and E. Carson Streets.
All three were hospitalized.
The surveillance video from the Glassburgh Smoke Shop shows the moments when shots were fired and the crowds quickly dispersed.
15-year-old Taiden Harvey of Clairton faces a number of charges, including attempted criminal homicide.
“A 15 year old baby charged with attempted murder, you know where the parents are? Why is a 15 year old out shooting in the middle of the night? ”Said Rev. Smith.
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The Pittsburgh Police Department stepped up efforts to prevent violence in the area.
Because of the chaos on E. Carson Street, more officers are patrolling the area and public security has installed more cameras and lights. The city also wants to change the flow of traffic on the street.
“It affects the level of violence that is taking place in the city of Pittsburgh, the number of people carrying guns,” said Chief Scott Schubert of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. “It has to stop.”
On E. Carson Street on Saturday night, people were still going to bars and restaurants and others working their night shifts.
But do guests feel safe in this area?
“It’s definitely worrying. I don’t like being here so late, especially with all the crazy and drunk and homeless people and people who drive, whistle, throw up and do drugs, it’s just a lot. It’s especially scary with the shootings, ”said Skylar Nehman, who works on the South Side.
The South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace is constantly trying to prevent shootings with grassroots efforts. The organization goes to communities and offers interventions against street violence. Rev. Smith said they need more money so they can get more peacemakers on the streets.
“We’re out there, we just don’t have enough people out there to prevent peace, we know that street violence intervention works and that’s why we’re out there, we work overtime. My team is busy, ”said Rev. Smith.
Rev. Smith is planning an emergency halt to the violent prayer rally and vigil as she and many Pittsburghers ask people to stop pulling the trigger. The vigil will take place on Tuesday at 6.30 p.m. in the Lighthouse Cathedral. She said everyone is welcome, including those affected by Friday’s shootings.
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“We call on faith leaders, community leaders, business leaders, prayer fighters, everyone, victims and survivors. We invite parents to bring their children from the bear soccer team. We will have crisis intervention specialists on site who will help you and work with you. We’re calling the ward together, come out and let’s stop this violence, enough, ”said Rev. Smith.