At least six people were injured after gunfire erupted Friday outside a Pittsburgh church where a funeral was taking place, police said.
One victim who was initially reported in critical condition is now in stable condition, among five others who are also being treated for injuries, Pittsburgh Police Commander Richard Ford said at a press conference Friday at the afternoon
At least one of the victims was taken to the city’s Children’s Hospital in stable condition, Ford said.
Two “persons of interest” were arrested Friday night in connection with the shooting, police said. Authorities did not identify the people in custody or say how they are believed to be connected to the shooting.
Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “are on scene assisting the Pittsburgh Police Department with this incident,” Special Agent Robert Cucinotta told CNN, declining to comment more.
Police were alerted to two ShotSpotter activations shortly after noon on Friday. The first alert indicated five shots, and the second alert indicated 15 shots, Ford said. Once at the scene, officers determined that a shot had been heard outside the church. At least some of the people shot are believed to have been attending the funeral, Ford said.
The incident “obviously appears to be the result of a targeted shooting,” Ford said.
“We feel that there are people who will resort to violence through guns, and that’s a danger to anyone when that can happen,” Ford said.
Ford also confirmed that there were several suspected shooters involved in the incident, but did not provide further information on possible suspects. The investigation, including a review of video of the incident, is ongoing, Ford said.
Of the six shooting victims, four were taken to nearby hospitals and two were taken by medics, Ford said. He declined to release their ages or other identifying information at this time as police are still working to notify families.
All schools near the shooting were notified that the area is now safe for student dismissal, according to Ford.
The senior pastor of Destiny of Faith Church, the Rev. Brenda Gregg, said in her 30 years of working in pastoral ministry, Friday’s shooting “has been one of the most devastating days of [her] life.”
Gregg added that it was a difficult time “having a funeral for a young man and being able to work with his family to bring closure to what had happened in their lives, that we had people coming to the church and shooting guns behind the people”.
Despite the shooting, the church will continue its Halloween harvest event to continue bringing the community together, Gregg said.
“When we think about it, I think we’re stronger together and we want to continue to have those things that would make sense in the community, and that’s we need a place for our kids to come,” Gregg said.
Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey acknowledged that the community and the families of the victims are hurting and Friday’s shooting is something they never expected to happen.
“I never would have imagined. Never, that we would shoot on holy ground,” Gainey said. “We will work around the clock to do whatever is necessary to apprehend those who did this heinous thing today.”
Gainey also urged the community to come forward with any information that can help the police investigation and help the community heal from the incident.
“If you work with us, if you talk to us, we will get justice and we will get healing,” Gainey said.