MCKEESPORT, Pa. (KDKA) – Another night, another homicide in McKeesport. Wednesday’s was the sixth this year in what has become a now-frequent tragedy in this once-proud steel town.
“You got shootings everywhere,” said Ronnie Taylor.
Since the collapse of the steel industry, economic recovery has bypassed most of the Mon Valley and much of McKeesport remains shuttered and blighted. Jobs are few and opportunity limited. The homicide victims are mostly young and unemployed.
“That’s the downfall, people lost their jobs. They become desperate. I guess anybody would,” Taylor said.
Time was in Allegheny County when most homicides occurred in the city of Pittsburgh, but in recent years that trend has reversed. Last year there were 37 city homicides but 58 in suburban Allegheny County.
“The murders have shifted from the city into the county, that’s correct and mostly in the Mon Valley area,” said Lt. Venerando Costa of the county police.
In Wilkinsburg there were 11 homicides last year, eight already this year. In McKeesport, there were eight all of last year and six so far this one. County homicide, it seems, spends most of its time investigating murders in these towns.
“What we’re seeing is a lot of street-level violence involving drugs and gang activity,” Costa said.
Last night a street argument between two males resulted in gunfire, which grazed a young woman and struck a 31-year-old male in the chest. Friends drove him to UPMC McKeesport Hospital emergency room where he was pronounced dead.