Police say five people have been shot dead in an “ambush-style attack” in suburban Pittsburgh and at least two gunmen are at large.
Allegheny County police said four women and a man were killed late on Wednesday during a backyard party in the borough of Wilkinsburg. At least three others are in hospital, where two men are in critical condition and one woman is stable.
Police said people scrambled toward the house as bullets began flying. Four of the victims were found dead on the back porch. The other died at a hospital.
At least two suspects fled on foot. No suspects are in custody and a motive was not immediately known.
Officials said Wilkinsburg police officers were called to the scene at 10:54pm to find eight people with gunshot wounds.
“It would appear from early examination of the scene that a backyard party/cookout was being held at the rear of the home,” an official press release said. “The ballistic evidence on the scene leads police to believe that two different weapons were discharged from two different people.”
Lt. Andrew Schurman of the Allegheny County homicide unit said the gunmen had barged into the party and opened fire in an ambush-style attack.
He said police do not believe anyone at the party fired back.
“It looks like right now they were all fleeing toward the back door of the residence when the second gunman fired from the side of the yard,” Schurman said. “They all seemed to get caught on the back porch.”
Resident Kayla Alexander told WPXI-TV that she heard a barrage of gunshots – more than 20 – in the neighborhood, which usually is quiet.
Groups of residents were reported to be gathered on the street, some of them sobbing and saying they had lost family members. Dozens of shell casings littered the pavement of an alleyway near the site, where police were gathering evidence and talking to witnesses.
Vehicles from the medical examiner’s office arrived in the early hours of Thursday to remove the victims’ bodies.
Wilkinsburg is a residential neighborhood of around 16,000 people, 13 km (8 miles) east of Pittsburgh.