McKEESPORT (KDKA) — An innocent driver was killed when he got caught in the crossfire of a shooting incident in McKeesport Wednesday afternoon, causing a crash that injured two other people and shutting down a busy bridge for much of the evening.

The incident was first reported just before 3 p.m.

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The victim, who was minding his own business, was hit by the gunfire while driving his car. He is now being identified as 73-year-old James Ponzo of Glassport. He died in the emergency room at UPMC McKeesport Hospital from a gunshot wound to the head.

Word of the latest fatal shooting in McKeesport spread quickly.

One man told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “When we first heard about it, we were up at football practice. The coaches looked at us and told us what had happened.
It’s a shame.”

Ponzo was found alone in his car. It crashed on East Fifth Avenue, seconds after striking another vehicle near the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge. The two people in that other vehicle suffered minor injuries, said Allegheny County Police.

They were treated a local hospital.

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The bridge was shut down for several hours while police processed the scene, looking for evidence.

Lt. Andrew Schurman, of Allegheny County Police, said, “At this point, we think he was an innocent victim, and he was just driving by the area when the shooting occurred.”

It appears Ponzo’s death was directly attributed to a drive-by shooting that started in nearby Crawford Village between two vehicles traveling through the complex towards East Fifth Avenue.

“We believe one, possibly two vehicles were exchanging gunfire,” Lt. Schurman said. “Within minutes, police were alerted there was a crash on East Fifth Avenue, in close proximity to the housing complex.”

Anyone with information on the shooting incident is asked to call McKeesport Police or the Allegheny County Police Homicide Unit at 412-473-1300.

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