Mayor Ed Gainey takes gun violence concerns to social media after 4-year-old's death – TribLIVE

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Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey took his criticism of gun violence to social media Friday night, speaking directly to Pittsburghers via Twitter and Facebook livestreams the day after a 4-year-old girl was shot and killed in the city.
“There is no reason a 4-year-old should have been murdered,” said Gainey, who spoke in front of a gaggle of reporters from behind the mayor’s desk in the City-County Building, Downtown. “There’s no reason a 4-year-old should be gunned down in our city — period.”
Three people were hospitalized in connection with the double shooting Thursday night in Pittsburgh’s Lincoln-Lemington neighborhood, which the mayor calls home. On Friday, Pittsburgh police said the 4-year-old victim had died at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The girl’s mother also was shot.
A Pittsburgh Public Schools spokesperson identified the girl Friday as Kaari Thompson, a Pittsburgh Lincoln Early Childhood student. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the victim’s identity late Friday.
“Kaari will be remembered as a very loving child, always smiling and passing out hugs,” school spokesperson Ebony Pugh said in a statement. “She enjoyed playing in the classroom’s housekeeping section and making pretend food for everyone. She was very bright and an absolute joy to have in class. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”
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During his live address Friday night, Gainey asked city residents to continue feeding tips to law enforcement, hoping to catch gunmen who had taken the lives of young people like Thompson.
But he also cast a wider net, inviting participation from government leaders, police, nonprofits, school and faith-based leaders, and members of the community.
“This is a call for peace in our city,” the mayor said. “No one’s gonna stop [gun violence] except for us. … It’s gonna take all of us.”
Top Pittsburgh Police brass — including Acting Chief Thomas Stangrecki — provided a brief update about the shooting an hour before Gainey’s address Friday night.
“Lincoln-Lemington is the neighborhood I call my home,” Assistant Chief Lavonnie Bickerstaff told reporters outside police headquarters Friday. “I appeal to the parents — we must do better. … If you have some information, please do not hesitate to call us here.”
Gainey Friday called the double shooting “another senseless killing.”
“I’m going to do all I can to ensure this is the safest city in America,” he added.
Gainey, who left meetings with bond officials Friday to come back to Pittsburgh before his expected Sunday return, also took questions from reporters alongside Lee Schmidt, who heads the administration’s public safety office.
One question was about troubled youths causing mischief Downtown.
“We know there’s a bigger situation we need to address,” Gainey said. “We’re working on that. … The problem didn’t arrive yesterday, and we won’t solve it tomorrow.”
Justin Vellucci is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Justin at jvellucci@triblive.com.
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