THE DAILY STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH

Officials confirm shooting at Western Psychiatric Institute at press conference

Pitt News Staff | March 8, 2012    

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and officials from UPMC confirmed at a 6 p.m. press conference… Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and officials from UPMC confirmed at a 6 p.m. press conference that the shooting today at Western Psychiatric Institute left seven people injured and two dead.

During the half hour conference in the Biomedical Science Tower, Ravenstahl said that at approximately 1:40 p.m. today, a gunman entered a public area on the first floor in Western Psychiatric Institute. The shooter had two semi-automatic hand guns, Ravenstahl said.

He said the two people who died were both males, one of which appears to be the shooter, though he would not confirm that until the investigation is over. He also would not identify the shooter.

Ravenstahl said the gunman acted alone, despite reports that a shooter may have been on the second floor. The investigation will cover the first and second floors of the building.

“At this point we have no reason to believe that anyone else was involved,” he said.

Despite various reports, Ravenstahl also confirmed there was no hostage situation at UPMC Presbyterian or Western Psychiatric Institute.

Pitt police were the first to arrive on the scene and engaged in gunfire, Ravenstahl said.

“Their quick response saved lives today,” he said.

A Pitt police officer was grazed with a bullet, though he was not significantly harmed, the mayor said.

Dr. Donald Yealy, the chair of the emergency medical department at Pitt and UPMC, said at the conference that out of the seven wounded victims, UPMC Presbyterian has released two. Two others are still in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital, and three are being treated and are expected to need surgery within the next 24 hours.

At least one of the injuries is not gunshot related, Yealy said.

Claudia Roth, president of the Western Psychiatric Institute, said that all the patients are expected to survive.

Five out of the seven victims are UPMC employees, she said. She would not comment if the shooter had any affiliation with the Institute.

After this incident, security procedures will be under review in the near feature, Roth said.

She noted that the hospital currently has metal detectors at the “most vulnerable place” in the facility — the emergency department.

Ravenstahl said that the shooter did not pass through a metal detector.

The shooting disrupted much of Oakland today, with multiple schools in lockdown.

At 2:10 p.m., Pitt sent out an Emergency Notification Service alert that said an active shooter was identified at Western Psychiatric Institute, and lockdown was recommended.

Another alert at 5:16 p.m. released the lockdown, and the Pitt community got the all clear at 5:55 p.m. As of now, all campus operations have resumed normal activity.

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