Friday, March 9, 2012

sad day in pittsburgh

Yesterday, around 2 p.m.,  one of our law interns, who is currently enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh, received a report of a gunman, possibly two, at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.  "Western Psych," as everyone in the area calls it, in located right on the University of Pittsburgh main campus in Oakland, about one mile away from where I work and live.  I have friends and relatives who work in the area in and around Pitt.  After sending a few warning texts to friends and family to be careful, I went quietly about my day, checking the web every so often to see of any updates.

My friend Sarah texted me back.  She works for accounting for Pitt, and said that they were on lockdown.  So we exchanged information throughout the day as we both discovered it- the false rumor of a hostage situation and the casualty count.  I wasn't particularly worried about her or any of my relatives as none of them worked in Western Psych.

When all was finally cleared up three hours later, two were dead (including the shooter) and seven wounded.  It was at this point that my boss revealed that one of his baristas for his coffee shop works at Western Psych during the day.  One phone call confirmed that she was safe and had no idea what had happened as she had been in a completely different part of the building.

I wouldn't say Pittsburgh is a violent or dangerous place to live.  I feel perfectly safe walking around many neighborhoods at night- with precautions, of course.  Any violence is usually in the same three or four neighborhoods regarding drugs or gang-related violence.  Collateral damage has happened, but it's rare.

But these sort of incidents just baffle me.  Within the past three years I've lived within a mile of two very violent and uncalled for shootings.  The first involved a man who killed three police officers who responded to a domestic dispute at his house.  And now this.

But what possesses people to hurt others in their own desire for destruction?  

I thank God that not more were killed.  We all feel for the family of the young man employed by Western Psych who was killed.  But police response was speedy, those involved with the university and the hospitals in Oakland were notified and locked down very quickly and effectively, and the damage done was no worse.

Please pray for the victims and their families, especially the family of fallen employee Michael Schaab.


  1. Sorry to hear this! I'm glad you and your family are okay.