2 dead in US psychiatric hospital attack

2012-03-09 10:05

New York - A shooting spree at a Pittsburgh psychiatric clinic by a man carrying two semi-automatic pistols left two dead - one of them possibly the gunman - and seven injured on Thursday, staff and police said.

The gunman had exchanged fire with police, officials said. The identity of the second fatal victim was not immediately released.

The shooter entered the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh by the front door and opened fire on the first floor and possibly also the second, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and other officials told reporters in a conference call.

University police, regular city units and heavily armed Swat teams quickly came on scene, although it was not immediately clear how the shooting ended or whether the gunman may have died by his own hand or police fire.

"The police acted admirably and did engage in gunfire," Ravenstahl said.

Donald Yealy, head of the University of Pittsburgh's emergency medicine department, the busiest trauma centre in Pennsylvania, said the outlook for those hurt was good.

No hostages

"We expect all that were presented to the hospital to survive and do well," he told reporters in the conference call.

One patient had been operated on and was in intensive care. Three others required operations, while the rest had already been released.

Among those slightly hurt was a University of Pittsburgh police officer who was "grazed" by a bullet, the police department said. Another victim was injured by something other than a gunshot.

The hospital denied earlier reports of a hostage situation and said that "measures continue to be in place to maintain hospital security. We continue to work with police".

The institute, the University of Pittsburgh campus in Oakland and Pittsburgh Public School's Science and Technology Academy were placed on lockdown, while Swat teams swept the area.