James Pritchard, a 17-year-old from Clairton, is facing multiple charges, including attempted homicide, in connection with a Valentine’s Day shooting.
Who is James Pritchard?
Pritchard, 17, a resident of Clairton, has been charged with a number of offenses, including attempted homicide, in connection with a Valentine’s Day shooting near Westinghouse Academy in Homewood, shedding light on a tragic incident that rocked the neighborhood earlier this year.
According to court records, Pritchard faces eight counts of aggravated assault, five counts of recklessly threatening another person, one allegation of criminal conspiracy to commit homicide, and one crime of arms possession by a child. According to Police Chief Larry Scirotto, an unidentified 14-year-old was also charged as a juvenile with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, and conspiracy to commit homicide.
The four counts of attempted homicide against Pritchard were eliminated during a preliminary hearing, according to court documents, and the remaining charges were forwarded to Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. Pritchard’s arraignment is set for December 14.
On Valentine’s Day, police responded to North Murtland Street near Westinghouse Academy after receiving a ShotSpotter alert indicating ten bullets fired in the area. Several injured people sought safety inside the school, with three victims discovered in the main office. They were in stable condition despite injuries to their hands, arms, and ankles. A fourth victim was brought to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh after being shot in the left thigh.
Witnesses coming forward to aid police in their investigation highlighted improved community relationships, which Mayor Ed Gainey and Police Chief Larry Scirotto both underlined. Authorities attributed this collaboration to both arrests and a decrease in violent crime in the city. Gainey said that “If you see something, say something” was making an impact, citing a 21% decrease in violent homicides this year and a 22% decrease in teenage violent crime.
James Pritchard’s case is notable because it represents a turning point in the legal system. Pritchard’s attorney, Casey White, underlined his client’s continued innocence and the potential of the case being handled in juvenile court. Pritchard was additionally linked to a stolen vehicle incident and a seized 9mm weapon, according to the inquiry.
As the legal process progresses, this case will remain a focus, serving as a reminder of the complex challenges faced in addressing and preventing youth-related violence within the community.