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Shooting at Halloween attraction kills 1 teen, wounds 2nd

September 12, 2021 GMT

NORTH VERSAILLES, Pa. (AP) — Gunfire at a popular Halloween attraction in western Pennsylvania killed one teenager and critically wounded another with another teenager being sought as a suspect, authorities said.

Allegheny County police said the shooting was reported at about 8:15 p.m. Saturday at the Haunted Hills Hayride in North Versailles.

First responders found two 15-year-old youths shot and took them to hospitals, where one was pronounced dead in the emergency room and the other was listed in critical condition. The Allegheny County medical examiner’s office on Sunday identified the teen killed as 15-year-old Steven Eason of Wilmerding.

Police were seeking a suspect described as a 15- to 17-year-old youth. Homicide detectives are investigating.

TV news stations reported that the incident apparently stemmed from an argument between a group of teenagers, and one pulled a gun and started shooting. Employees reported hearing at least three to four shots. KDKA-TV reported that it happened between the ticket booth and the attraction’s red barn.

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“We were in our scene getting ready for more people to come down,” employee Pipper Donaldson told the station. “We heard the gunshots and somebody came running past us and didn’t tell us anything ... They didn’t tell us anything until the end until we were ready to leave.”

The Haunted Hills Hayride had announced on its Facebook page that it would kick off the season with “a special pre-opening ‘Lights Out’ event” to begin at 8 p.m. Saturday.

“Both our hayride and walking trail will have NO lights,” the announcement said. “Each attendee will be provided a glowstick as their only light source to travel through both attractions in complete and total darkness.”

Police told WTAE-TV that a couple hundred people were at the attraction at the time of the shooting.

Lt. Vernando Costa called it “a terrible shame.”

“You come to an area where you are going to have fun and it’s innocent people were around anybody could have been hurt — people not involved,” Costa said.