Gunman Opens Fire at Suburban Pittsburgh Fast-Food RestaurantAired March 1, 2000 - 12:30 p.m. ET
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GENE RANDALL, CNN ANCHOR: We have this just in: About 90 minutes ago, a man drove up to a fast-food restaurant in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh, and opened fire. Several people were reportedly wounded. No immediate word on their conditions. The police are searching for the gunman.
Once again, this happened in Wilkinsburg just outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
I'm Gene Randall in Washington. More of the details as they become available.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... getting questions and we walked out.
NINA PINEDA, WTAE-TV REPORTER: Where did he go after that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He went farther in the back where we normally see patients.
PINEDA: Do you think he's back there with patients now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think so. We didn't have any patients scheduled at that time. But we did have a doctor -- there is a doctor, an office manager and one assistant that's not out here.
PINEDA: OK, as you can hear, I'm with Bill Simonton (ph). He was working in a family physician's referral office inside the building. He believes that there might be some people...
RANDALL: These pictures are from our affiliate in Pittsburgh, WTAE.
PINEDA: ... from this vantage point, I don't know if they've apprehended the suspect yet.
SCOTT BAKER, WTAE-TV ANCHOR: Nina, to clarify what Bill just told you there -- because I was getting a little bit of breakup on the phone -- he said that the man took one of the billers in their office and a technician, two people or three people, and took them into a back room?
PINEDA: Yes, according to this witness, Scott, he took three people by force with a .22-caliber handgun into the back room, but he let some people that were also in the office go, and held those people for a short amount of time -- they're sitting here on the curb with me -- and he let them go a short time later.
BAKER: So the people that he initially took hostage in that doctor's office are the billers and technicians that he referred to, but he then did let go.
PINEDA: Yes, he did. They are sitting right here on the curb.
BAKER: But the question: The unaccounted for people -- and we don't know, they may be in some other safe area now -- would be the actual -- the doctor and the office manager and another assistant who they have not seen come out of that office?
PINEDA: That's true. And the office is part of a large building, Scott, and there are several other facilities in there. There are some residents in there, I believe, Bill, and there's also an adult day care with some patients in there that are suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's. And the people who came were wondering if they got out OK. Some people are wheelchair-bound, Scott, in the building.
BAKER: Certainly. And see if you can get a better idea, Nina, about the day care situation and where it would be, on what floor it would be in that facility from that witness. While you're doing that, I'm going to talk everyone through what we're seeing now from Sky-4 just over the scene...
PINEDA: Where is he? Where is Bill?
BAKER: ... our first indications -- our first video, actually, from over the scene. We've had the ground video. This is live video now over the situation there, and we're zooming in on the situation, that parking lot, I believe, along West Street. And as the camera will kind of pull back, we're going to get a better perspective about what we've been talking about this last half hour: the multiple shooting situation in the heart of Wilkinsburg, the old Columbia Hospital, now the Penn-West Medical Building (ph).
So in the foreground right above the word live, you see the McDonald's. That sits right along Pennwood Avenue. You see the railroad track overpass along the bottom of the situation that may have started in that McDonald's.
RANDALL: We're going now to our local coverage from WPXI in Pittsburgh. This, once again, is as it is going on the air in that Pennsylvania city.
UNIDENTIFIED WPXI ANCHOR: ... covered many scenes like this, unfortunately, but is well experienced in what goes on in this type of situation, is live now in Chopper 11.
And, Andy, at this particular point, it appears that the police now have gotten into a waiting game with this suspect.
ANDY GASTMEYER, WPXI REPORTER: I would say that's the correct way to put this right now, Bob. They have remained around the Penn- West Office Building, which we identified earlier as a professional building for doctors and other medical personnel, we can assume. There's probably no less than two dozen police cars that remain around the Penn-West Office Building for an entire block covering all directions, north, south, east and west. And many of these vehicles have officers outside taking cover behind those vehicles with weapons drawn. So it is a tense situation. It remains that. Their hope, obviously, is that the suspect, if they're accurate about him being inside the Penn-West Office Building, in fact, will take the wiser course and give up rather than try to take shots at police here or take a hostage and increase the tragedy here that we're already dealing with.
But, again, that area right around Penn-West remains cordoned off. Police are on every corner, on every side street. There is no access to the McDonald's where the shootings occurred, and people are being kept out of the area, both on foot. And, of course, any traffic that would otherwise be coming into this area, has been rerouted. This remains a live crime scene area.
RANDALL: This developing story in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, just outside Pittsburgh where police have sealed off an area, looking for a gunman who shot a number of people this morning in a fast-food restaurant. Details as they become available throughout this day.
For right now, I'm Gene Randall in Washington.
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