2 dead in psychiatric clinic shooting in Pa.
PITTSBURGH — A man armed with two semiautomatic handguns entered the lobby of a psychiatric clinic at the University of Pittsburgh on Thursday and opened fire, killing one person and wounding several others before he was shot dead, apparently by campus police, the mayor said.
Six people were wounded by the man’s gunfire, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said. A seventh suffered unspecified injuries but wasn’t shot, officials said.
The mayor stopped short of confirming the gunman was fatally shot by at least one University of Pittsburgh police officer who responded. But he confirmed “police acted admirably and did engage in gunfire.”
“There’s no doubt that their swift response saved lives today,” Ravenstahl said.
One of the injured was a police officer who Ravenstahl said was grazed by a bullet. Officials didn’t say if that officer shot the gunman, whose identity and relationship to the clinic, if any, weren’t disclosed. The injured people included employees and a
visitor, said Dr. Donald Yealy, chair of emergency medicine at the university’s medical school.
Shooting witness Gregory Brant said he was in a waiting room on the first floor of the clinic building when pandemonium broke out.
“We heard a bunch of yelling, some shooting, people yelling, ‘Hide! Hide!'” he said. “Everyone’s yelling, ‘Stay down!'”
Brant, 53, and six other people, including a young girl and her parents, barricaded themselves inside the waiting room. But he said they did not feel safe because there were doors with windows along adjacent walls.
“The way the room was arranged, if he (the gunman) had gone to either window and would have seen us in there, he could have done whatever he wanted,” Brant said.
The group crouched in a corner, hoping the gunman wouldn’t see them as he went past, Brant said. The men in the group decided on the spot that if the gunman entered the room, they would rush him.
“We were kind of sitting ducks,” Brant said. “Luckily, he didn’t see us in there, and we didn’t make eye contact with him.”
Brant estimated the ordeal lasted 15 or 20 minutes.
Neighboring buildings were placed on lockdown for hours, police said.
A SWAT team was on the scene shortly after the shooting. A street was blocked off, and the area thronged with police. Most students are on spring break, though offices and buildings have been open.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center said it had received some patients from the shooting. It said two patients were in intensive care, two were released and three were being admitted. All were expected to survive.
The clinic, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, is located in the city’s Oakland neighborhood, a couple of miles east of downtown, and is affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and one of several affiliated hospitals adjacent to the university campus. Other schools are nearby, including Carnegie Mellon, Carlow and Chatham universities.