PENN HILLS, Pa. (KDKA) – No fans will be allowed at Friday night’s Penn Hills football game after a student was shot at Haunted Hills Hayride.
Central Catholic High School student Stephen Eason was killed and a Penn Hills High School student was injured when gunfire broke out at the Halloween attraction over the weekend.READ MORE: Following Violent Incidents, Head Of Pittsburgh Federation Of Teachers Says Action Is Needed Now
“We have been advised that unresolved feelings and emotions about what happened last weekend in North Versailles are being further fueled by a county-level police investigation that remains open,” the Penn Hills School District wrote on its website.
Detectives said Eason was at the hayride with a group of friends when he saw the other victim fighting with the suspect. Police said he jumped in to try and help. Investigators said the suspect pulled out a handgun and fired three times, striking Eason and the other victim in the shoulder before taking off.
Attendance for the Penn Hills-Woodland Hills game will be limited to players, coaches and essential event staff.
“Beyond the obvious consideration of public safety, we believe this event restriction will give both football teams the opportunity to enjoy being kids for the night and to engage in healthy competition that is free of worries about who might be onsite during the game and for what purpose,” the district said.
Superintendent Nancy Hines recalled a vigil in May in remembrance of three Penn Hills students slain just last spring.READ MORE: Failure To Follow Home Rule Charter On Council's Pay Raise Could Lead To Citizen Lawsuits, Says City Controller
“At that time we said student safety is number one and we care about the kids. And here we are a few months later and tragic events happened in a nearby community,” said Hines.
Hines said there’s no specific threat, but it’s about trying to control the climate.
“We don’t want to cancel. We want to give the kids the opportunity to play the game. And I want to stress that — play the games, but it seems reckless at this point to bring crowds of people together,” she said.
At Central Catholic, students continue to grieve Eason’s death. Brother Tony Baginski, who has scheduled a school prayer service for Friday tells KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “This is a tough time. This is a tragedy. The Central Catholic community is pulling together to support our students, the staff, the community and especially the family in these trying times.”
The game will be livestreamed.MORE NEWS: Pa. Leaders Commit Millions Of Dollars To Help Organizations Targeted By Hate Crimes
Allegheny County Police say they didn’t advise Hines to restrict attendance and say they’re making progress in the Haunted Hills Hayride and that the investigation is moving forward.