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Toddler fatally shot in Pittsburgh drive-by was not intended target, police say

Police said they have seized a vehicle used in the attack Sunday and were hoping it would lead to a suspect.

An 18-month-old was fatally struck in a drive-by shooting that did not intentionally target the boy, Pittsburgh police said Sunday.

The attack Sunday afternoon in near-80-degree weather in downtown Pittsburgh unnerved city officials, who vowed to make an arrest in the case.

"I know that our thoughts and our prayers are not enough," Mayor Ed Gainey said at a news conference Sunday. "We are utilizing all available resources to find the responsible people so that we can bring them to justice."

Public Safety Director Lee Schmidt indicated the vehicle used in the violence, described as a black Jeep Wrangler, was found with no suspects and seized as evidence.

She hoped it might help officers locate a suspect.

The toddler and his mother, the two occupants of a vehicle struck by gunfire, did not appear to be the intended targets, Schmidt said.

Schmidt said she could not divulge who police believe was targeted because the investigation is ongoing. The attack erupted near historic Point State Park.

As calls were made to 911 to report gunfire, police and paramedics rushed to Fourth Avenue near the park, and medics soon pronounced the child dead at the scene, police said.

"It was an outrageous act in broad daylight," Cindy K. Chung, the U.S. attorney for the region, said at the news conference.

Chung vowed to bring U.S. government resources to the case if local authorities request them.

Gainey, the mayor, said the tragedy was a sign of a "gun violence epidemic" that has required the city's police to deploy new thinking, including focusing more energy on fewer suspects who have outsize impacts on Pittsburgh.

The mayor's focus on new approaches to crime could get a clean slate. Police Chief Scott Schubert announced Friday that he's retiring effective July 1.

"We are going to do everything we can to make this summer safe, especially for our children," Gainey said. "Enough is enough."