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Phantoms Revenge, Kennywood

UPDATE October 11 - Police have arrested a 15 year old in connection with the shooting which took place on the evening of Saturday September 24, at Kennywood theme park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The 15 year old will be tried as an adult facing charges of aggravated assault, firearms not to be carried without a license, possession of a firearm by a minor, and recklessly endangering another person. 

Police believe that the incident at Kennywood was due to an ongoing feud between two teenage groups in the Homestead area. Two guns were actually used in the incident with one of them being found at the scene and the other suspected to have been stolen from a vehicle. 

Enhanced safety and security procedures and a chaperone policy are in place at Kennywood following this incident to ensure the safety of all guests and employees. 

Kennywood
Image: Kennywood

September 29 - It is what we have been expecting to see, Kennywood has just announced its new enhanced safety and security procedures and Chaperone policy after the shooting which took place on Saturday evening (September 24, 2022).

It now states clearly at the top of the official website, "The park is open starting Friday. Sept 30. See our enhanced safety and security procedures." The statement begins by saying, "For 124 years, it has been Kennywood’s mission to provide the finest in family fun and entertainment. As we continue collaborating with law enforcement on their investigation and get ready to open on Friday, we want to share about new and ongoing security enhancements that will be in place that evening and during future visits."

The statement ends by saying, "The Kennywood team keeps those injured Saturday in our thoughts. As we prepare to open this weekend, please know we are fully committed to enhancing our operations to allow guests to enjoy a safe, fun experience. We will continue consulting with law enforcement on additional safety measures to implement. We thank the Allegheny County and West Mifflin Police Departments, our Team Members, and our Guests for the continued support."

Here is a list of the new and ongoing security enhancements that will be in place at Kennywood from Friday September 30, to ensure the safety of all guests and employees:

  • Increased Police Support: In addition to our security team, we are doubling the number of police officers contracted through local law enforcement agencies for each night of Phantom Fall Fest. There will be a more visible police presence at the entrance and throughout the park. Kennywood leadership will be more clearly visible in uniform red jackets, as well.
  • Perimeter Enhancements: Park teams have cut down trees along the fence line bordering Route 837 to improve sight lines. New flood lights and security cameras are being installed for better monitoring, and ongoing security patrols in that area will increase significantly.
  • Chaperone Policy Updates: Guests age 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years of age (with valid ID) to enter the park at all times during Phantom Fall Fest.
  • Park Entrance Policies: With the weapons detection system working as designed since its installation this spring, the park’s prior screening system has been removed to eliminate guest confusion. New signage is being installed to inform guests they are entering a security screening area. Though the new system is able to screen bags and individuals via cameras and metal detection to identify those in need of further inspection, we will implement additional spot checking of bags as a precautionary measure.
  • New Bag Policy: Only bags within the dimensions of 8” x 5” x 1”, as well as medical and diaper bags, are permitted. Outside food and beverage is not permitted, with the exception of one unsealed bottle of water or Guests with special dietary needs.
  • Facial Coverings: Masks that cover some or all of a person’s face are not permitted to be worn by any guest after 6 p.m. The only exceptions are surgical masks or N95/KN95 masks as recommended as a precaution against COVID-19. If masks of this nature are worn, they must be free from additional coverings including but not limited to fake blood, makeup or coloring.

These new security measures are to be expected and it is encouraging to see that perimeter enhancements have been made and increased security patrols will take place in the suspected area where the weapon was passed into the park on Saturday night.

The Chaperone Policy is becoming more and more nomal in theme parks across the US where incidents of fighting have occured such as in the case of Knott's Berry Farm and Carowinds. It is positive to see that the bag policy takes into consideration those guests with medical needs and those with children.

Let us know your thoughts on these enhanced security measures by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Phantoms Revenge, Kennywood
Image: Kennywood

September 27 - Kennywood has made an official statement after the incident which took place on Saturday night where two people were shot in the leg inside the park with another being treated for a graze wound". 

The statement from Kennywood General Manager, Mark Pauls reiterates the security protocols the park has in place including the state of the art weapons detection system which debuted at start of the season as well as video scanning and bag checks. Kennywood is continuing to cooperate with the authorities with their investigation into the shooting on Saturday night. 

In our update yesterday, we talked about the questions there have been online over the security of the outer fence at Kennywood and we are expecting increased security when the park reopens for Fall Fest on Friday evening (September 30, 2022). 

UPDATE September 26 - Questions are being asked over how an attacker was able to get a gun into Kennywood Park during the first proper evening of "Phantom Fall Fest" on Saturday night. The shooting is reported to have taken place near the Musik Express ride between two groups. Two people were shot in the leg including a 15-year old and a 39-year old man with a second juvenile being treated for a "graze wound".

Screamscape has reported that full security was in action on Saturday night with all bags being searched and everyone going through the metal detectors. However, there is a gap by the chain-locked gate in the fence which surrounds Kennywood which is said to be large enough for a small backpack to be passed through. This is only 80 feet from where the altercation is reported to have happened.

After this incident on Saturday night, we are expecting Kennywood to investigate exactly how it was possible for someone to get a gun into the park and to respond with further security in order to ensure an incident such as this does not happen again. Kennywood is currently set to reopen on Friday September 30, we will keep you updated with further details as and when they are announced.

Kenn
Image: Kennywood

UPDATE September 25, 11:00AM EST - We now have an update on the incident which took place at Kennywood just before it was due to close last night. According to NBC News, a spokesman for Allegheny County Police said "Three people including a juvenile male were hit after an altercation between two groups of teenage males near the Musik Express ride at the Kennywood amusement park in West Mifflin."

An unspecified number of other guests were also injured as a result of trampling as guests tried to exit the park as quickly as possible. Police are trying to find the culprit who was responsible for this shooting at Kennywood. The park remains closed today and is set to reopen on September 30. We will bring you further details on this incident as they are announced.

September 25 4:00AM EST - Emergency personnel from all over Allegheny and Westmoreland counties responded to reports of shots being fired at Kennywood Park late on the evening of Saturday September 24, during the parks Phantom Fall Fest.

Pittsburgh Public Safety tweeted that they were responding to the situation which has been deemed a "mass casualty incident".

Shortly after the incident took place, Kennywood Park issued this statement:"The park is closed for the night and all guests have exited. We are aware of a situation that occurred this evening and are working with local law enforcement. The safety of our guests and Team Members are our top priority. Members of the park’s security, Allegheny County, and West Mifflin police departments were already on site and immediately responded."

It has been reported by Channel 11 that witnesses saw scenes of mass panic and chaos as guests tried to leave the park. We currently don't have further details of any casualties but we will update you when this information is released.

Last night was the first proper night of Kennywood's Phantom Fall Fest. It now states on the official Kennywood website that, "The park is closed Sunday, Sept. 25. Any dated tickets for today will be valid any other Phantom Fall Fest date. We will reopen on Friday, Sept. 30."

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