PITTSBURGH, PA (September 14, 2021) – On the morning of Sunday, September 12, officers with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police were dispatched to two separate Catholic churches in the City of Pittsburgh after threats to harm congregants were received by telephone.
At the same time, parishioners at one of the churches, located on the North Side, called Police after one of their fellow congregants was observed to be carrying a gun on his person during the service. During their initial investigation, the man provided police with a valid conceal carry permit. It was determined that he did not commit a crime and was permitted to leave.
The other church that received a threat was in the Greenfield area of the City. When responding officers arrived, they secured the scene and established that there was no visible threat inside or outside of the church before the congregants were escorted to safety.
In response to these threats and perceived danger, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police is working directly with the FBI to thoroughly investigate the source and determine any connection between the two incidents.
"Pittsburgh Public Safety takes all threats of violence or terrorism extremely seriously. Pittsburgh Police Intelligence Unit detectives are working closely with our federal partners within FBI Pittsburgh, sharing information and intelligence to determine the origin of the threats. In the meantime, we are reassured that in one instance, citizens called Police when they observed suspicious behavior. We encourage everyone to adhere to the tenet, ‘if you see something, say something.’ It is only by working together that we can keep our communities safe,” said Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich.
Police have added extra patrols and are taking additional precautions to safeguard these churches and all houses of worship in the City of Pittsburgh. The Bureau does not discuss specific operational details.
This investigation is very active and ongoing. Updates to the public will be provided when they become available.