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Increased Security in Wake of Kennywood Shooting

Police: Shooter remains at large, victims were bystanders

By Staff Reports
The Tube City Almanac
September 28, 2022
Posted in: Crime and Police News, State & Region

The suspect wanted in connection with a shooting at Kennywood on Saturday night that injured three people remains at large, Allegheny County police said.

In the meantime, officials at the landmark amusement park in West Mifflin have announced enhanced security measures for when the park reopens, including a requirement that all guests age 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult age 21 years or older, and that their chaperones must have valid ID.

Details of the new security policies are posted on Kennywood’s website.

Three people, including two teen-agers, were wounded by gunshots after a suspect described as a Black teen-ager wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a face mask opened fire near the Musik Express ride.

The park was open Saturday night for its annual Halloween-themed “Phantom Fall Fest” celebration.

Witnesses said the shooting occurred after a large fight broke out between two groups of teen-agers.

Allegheny County police Inspector Mike Peairs said this week that a pistol was recovered near the scene of the shooting but that investigators have not confirmed whether it was the weapon used in the incident.

The firearm that was found had been reported stolen from a vehicle in Columbus, Ohio, in August 2021, he said.

Peairs added that police believe the shooting victims were bystanders and were not involved in the initial altercation and fight.

He said detectives, working with West Mifflin police and Kennywood’s in-house security force, are “continuing a lengthy review of video evidence and are following up on numerous tip line calls that have been received.”

Peairs said anyone with information or video concerning this incident is being asked to call the Allegheny County Police tip line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS (1-833-255-8477); callers can remain anonymous.

The department can also be reached via its social media sites, he said.

Meanwhile, Kennywood has announced additional security will be in place when the park reopens this Friday.

The park said it will double the number of uniformed police officers on patrol in the park and that Kennywood’s own management will wear red uniform jackets to be more easily visible and approachable by guests.

Following reports by Pittsburgh TV stations that the pistol used in the shooting may have been slipped through a fence along Kennywood Boulevard, park maintenance workers were seen this week cutting back trees and decorative shrubs along the fence line.

A Kennywood spokesperson said that new flood lights and security cameras are being installed for better monitoring, “and ongoing security patrols in that area will increase significantly.”

Witnesses to Saturday’s incident said they saw large groups of unaccompanied minors in Kennywood before the fight and subsequent shooting, and that park employees did not appear to be screening visitors using the metal detectors at the entrance.

Kennywood officials said this week a new, more sophisticated weapons-detection system was installed in the spring, and the old-style metal detectors are no longer in service.

All guests will be subject to spot checks of bags and purses, which must be restricted to no more than 8-by-5-by-1 inches, except for medical or diaper bags, the park said.

Costume masks and other face masks will be forbidden, except for surgical or N95/KN95 masks worn to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Kennywood officials said.

Originally published September 28, 2022.

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