Police were looking for suspects and appealing for witnesses to come forward after two young men were shot to death after a large party in Pittsburgh degenerated into a barrage of gunfire shortly after midnight on Easter Sunday, the police said.
Eight more people suffered gunshot wounds, while another five were injured as they attempted to flee the scene.
“It’s heartbreaking,” the city’s police chief, Scott E. Schubert, said. “How can you even have a holiday when something traumatic happened like this?”
The incident is the third mass shooting to occur within the last week. Just a day earlier, nine people were shot at a crowded South Carolina mall. On Tuesday, 10 passengers were shot inside a subway car in New York City.
The shootings are an example of what some believe is a recent national spike in violent crime. Murders have increased nearly 40 percent since 2019, and other violent crimes, which include shootings, are also on the rise. Experts are pointing to multiple possible factors that could explain the upswing, including the pandemic, lost confidence in the police and a surge in gun sales.
But officials said one clear factor in Pittsburgh was the large, apparently unsupervised, party. Many of those attending were underage.
The chaotic scene in Pittsburgh began around 12:30 a.m. at an Airbnb rental in the East Allegheny neighborhood, also known as Deutschtown, on Pittsburgh’s northern shore, the department said in a statement on Sunday. About 200 people were at the party, according to the statement.
Evidence at the scene suggests that there had been multiple shooters, according to the authorities. The gun shots began after an altercation took place at the party. One of the victims, according to the police chief, was as young as 14.
“As many as 50 rounds were fired inside, prompting some partygoers to jump out the windows, sustaining injuries such as broken bones and lacerations,” the statement read. “Several more shots were fired outside the home.”
Emergency personnel took some of the gunshot victims to local hospitals, with others arriving at hospitals independently.
Detectives were interviewing witnesses and reviewing video footage, the department said.
The mayor of Pittsburgh, Ed Gainey, who took office several months ago, criticized the city’s lack of “meaningful legislation” to curb gun violence, hinting at pending action, in a statement on Sunday.
“It is critical that we come together now to help reduce the violence currently happening while we begin to do the long-term work of ending the culture of violence that is enabling the senseless loss of life we are experiencing today,” the mayor said.