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Public’s help sought after teen killed at Halloween event

NORTH VERSAILLES (AP) — Authorities are asking for help from the public in their search for a teenage suspect who opened fire at a popular Halloween attraction in western Pennsylvania over the weekend, killing one 15-year-old youth and wounding another.

Allegheny County police said 15-year-old Steven Eason of Wilmerding was shot in the chest and stomach and died after the shooting reported at about 8:15 p.m. Saturday at the Haunted Hills Hayride in North Versailles.

Detectives said Eason had gone to the attraction with a group of friends and saw the other 15-year-old, whom they knew casually, involved in a confrontation with the suspect. They went to his aid, and the suspect drew a handgun and fired three times, hitting Eason and the other youth, before fleeing toward the parking lot.

Police said there were 50 to 100 people in the immediate area at the time of the shooting. Investigators don’t yet know what prompted the confrontation. The other 15-year-old victim was shot in the shoulder and was listed in stable condition at a hospital, police said.

The suspect, described as 15 to 17 years old, is being sought, and detectives are asking anyone who witnessed the shooting or has cellphone video of it to contact homicide investigators.

Central Catholic High School, where Eason was a student, expressed “deep sorrow” on its Facebook page and said counselors would be available for students during regular school hours and by email.

The principal, Brother Tony Baginski, called Eason “a dedicated student, a talented member of the track team and a blessing to have” at the school. “He will be deeply missed by all of us at Central Catholic and we offer our condolences and prayers to his family and friends,” he said in a statement, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

The Penn Hills school district also said counselors would be available for students needing support following the shooting “that led to an injury of a PHHS students and the death of a Central Catholic student.”

The Haunted Hills Hayride had announced that it was kicking off the season with “a special pre-opening ‘Lights Out’ event” to begin at 8 p.m. Saturday, with each person going on the hayride and walking trail given a glowstick “to travel through both attractions in complete and total darkness.”

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