Two 17-year-olds were shot to death in Pittsburgh yesterday, the deadly cap to a violent weekend that could put the city’s newly minted anti-crime program to the test, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Assistant police chief Maurita Bryant said detectives were “closing in on some good leads.”
The homicides came a few days after city officials launched an ambitious anti-violence effort, the Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime, which aims to diminish gang or “group-related” killings through a mix of law enforcement and social services. Police and prosecutors told influential members of the city’s street gangs, gathered in the federal courthouse, that they would be scrutinized the next time someone pulled a trigger — not just for the homicide, but for any crime in which they take part. If the most recent violence can be attributed to gangs, Deputy Chief Paul Donaldson said police will enact the new enforcement strategy with “all resources at our discretion.” Chief Nathan Harper said residents in parts of the East End that have seen an uptick in gun violence can expect ramped up patrols that will include the involvement of narcotics detectives, officers from other zone stations and members of the Street Response Unit who will flood “hot spots” and make arrests.