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Up to 5 dead in Pittsburgh-area shooting

world Updated: Aug 05, 2009 13:34 IST

A gunman burst into an exercise class at a health club in suburban Pittsburgh on Tuesday night and started spraying bullets. A television station reported at least four people were dead, including the shooter, and a hospital reported another death later.

Area hospitals were treating at least nine other victims.

Television station KDKA reported the killings were at the L.A. Fitness Center in Bridgeville, a community of about 5,000 residents not far from downtown Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh International Airport.

Allegheny County police told The Associated Press a person called them on Tuesday evening and said someone was shooting inside the health club.

Debi Wozniak, of Dormont, a suburb of Pittsburgh, is a regular at the weekly Latin impact dance exercise class. She was running late on Tuesday night and didn't make it, but she said her sister, Joann Gazzam, was in the class.

Gazzam told Wozniak that a man came in through the glass double doors at the exercise room's entrance. He walked to the back of the room near some weights and set down the bag, fumbling with it for a few minutes and came up with what Gazzam said were apparently two guns and began shooting.

Gazzam told Wozniak that several people appeared to be wounded, including the instructor, and that it was apparent that four people were dead and that the gunman had killed himself. "She told me, 'Debi, I seen everything, oh my God, I seen everything. I seen him pull out the guns,"' Wozniak said. Witness Ashley Ogordowski told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper she was in an exercise class when a man came in a back door and started shooting.

Gym member Lauren Dooley told the Post-Gazette she heard 12 to 15 shots.

Perry Calabro was playing racquetball inside. He said when the shooting began "everybody started running."

UPMC Mercy Hospital said five critically injured women were taken there. Allegheny General Hospital said it has two women in fair condition with gunshot wounds.

St. Clair Hospital said one of the victims of the shooting died there. Spokesman Rich Sieber said the woman was shot in the chest. He said two other victims were taken to his hospital, both in stable condition.

The fitness center, which opened last year, is in a strip mall called the Great Southern Shopping Center, where a few businesses were destroyed in a 2006 fire. It said in a statement: "Each of us in the LA Fitness family are shocked and saddened by the senseless acts of violence that took place."