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Search Continues For Suspect In Deadly Haunted Hills Hayride Shooting

NORTH VERSAILLES, Pa. (KDKA) - It's a sad day at Central Catholic High School in Shadyside. It's the first day students are back to school after Steven Eason, a sophomore at the high school, was shot and killed over the weekend. Counselors will be on hand all week as students and staff process what happened to their classmate and friend.

Eason's dad said over Facebook his son was his pride and joy and he's devastated by his loss. Eason, who was from Wilmerding, was just 15 years old. Central Catholic said he was a dedicated student, a talented member of the track team and will be deeply missed.

Photo Credit: Central Catholic High School

Investigators said around 50 to 100 people were at Haunted Hills Hayride in North Versailles when the shooting happened between the ticket booth and red barn Saturday night. Jenna Matvia was one of them.

"We were just about to get to the ticket booth, and we heard five to eight gunshots," said Matvia. "My friend Austin pulled us behind a truck just to duck down and wait for a second."

Detectives said Eason was at the hayride with a group of friends when he saw the other victim fighting with the suspect. Police said he jumped in to try and help. Investigators said the suspect pulled out a handgun and fired three times, striking Eason and the other victim, who's also 15 and a student at Penn Hills High School, in the shoulder before taking off. At last check, the second victim is in critical condition.

haunted hills hayride north-versailles-shooting
Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Bryce Lutz

"We saw so many people running out of the woods. Any of them could have been the shooter running away which is scary," said Matvia.

If you have any information or cell phone video from the incident, you're being asked to call Allegheny County Police.

Haunted Hills Hayride released this statement on Facebook:

On behalf of the entire Haunted Hills Hayride staff, our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the...

Posted by Haunted Hills Hayride on Monday, September 13, 2021

"On behalf of the entire Haunted Hills Hayride staff, our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims associated with the senseless act of violence that occurred at our facility on September 11, 2021. It is certainly difficult to hear, let alone experience, the reality of the loss of a loved one.

"We would like to thank the North Versailles Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services personnel for their immediate response to the call for help as they were located at our site at the time.

"The North Versailles Township Police, Detectives from the Allegheny County Police Department, and other responding agencies did an excellent job in responding to and investigating this case.

"The safety of all persons associated with our family fun oriented event has always been a priority since we started 22 years ago. After meeting with members of our event staff and with an outpouring of support from the community and our fan base, it has been determined that we cannot let an isolated bad act stop the good of what the Haunted Hills Hayride provides.

"Accordingly, we will resume our scheduled dates of operation as stated online.

"Thank you for your continued support."

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