Stray bullet strikes through student’s apartment window

Written By Cassandra Harris, News Editor

Shots fired on 6th Ave. reaches student’s twelfth-floor off-campus apartment window

Around 12 a.m. Monday, January 28, in the Chatham Building in a twelfth-floor apartment, 20-year-old Sandamini Sinley, Director of Operations for Pioneer Records and third-year broadcasting student, decided to take a nap. Little did she know that she would wake up with folded contacts, a shattered window and a bullet underneath her kitchen table.   

The projectile entered her apartment four feet away from her. She woke up tired and disoriented with obscured vision. At the time she thought that her new lamp broke. According to Pittsburgh Public Safety, the shots were fired at approximately 1:07 a.m.

“I was waiting on a text message from one of my friends who was on the North Shore to come and say ‘hey I’m going to come pick you up’ or ‘we’re going to hang out or whatever,’” Sinley said.

She was on three hours of sleep at the time and decided to keep on her “going out clothes” because of the arrangement with her friend.

“I’m like, what just happened?” Sinley said. “OK, the lamp broke, but then wait, I’m covered in glass, so I look at the lamp behind me, but I can’t see properly because of my contacts. That lamp’s fine, what about the other lamps?”

Initially, she came up with normal solutions to the gunshot.

“Wait, I’m walking on glass now, where’s all this glass coming from?” Sinley said. “Then, I just keep looking and keep looking, then I see, because it’s right behind my lamp, where the bullet went. Oh, that just happened. There’s a bullet hole in my window.”

After putting on her slippers and making sure that she was ok, Sinley then began thinking about who to call first. Calling her mom was a “mistake,” because while she was on the phone with the police, her family called her continuously.

“After I woke up and I saw the bullet hole, that’s when I saw cops going to 6th Ave by [Hotel] Monaco and that’s when I was like, oh,” Sinley said. “OK, so there was just a shooting. I put two-and-two together and I made the assumption.”

Police were already in the area of 6th Ave. and Smithfield Street when they heard multiple gunshots fired into the air. When she called the police, she gave them her information and let them know that it wasn’t an emergency. 

“I just told the cops hey, I think a shooting just happened on 6th Ave,” Sinley said. “I already see cops are dealing with the issue, but I think a bullet went through my apartment window. Let me know what steps need to be done if people need to come here.”

“I actually ended up finding the bullet under my dining table and it was pretty cool,” Sinley said.

While the policeman was with her, she also received a message from Point Alert. The police officer informed her that the bullet under her table belonged to one of two shootings that night. He said that the other one was one in the Hill District. At the same time, a male was arrested by Point Park Police on Wood Street and the Pittsburgh Police were taking care of what caused the window to shatter on 6th Ave. 

According to Pittsburgh Public Safety, no one was injured Monday morning, although a parked vehicle, traffic control box, and police vehicle sustained damage. The article leaves no mention of Sinley’s apartment.

“One of the questions that WTAE asked me is if I still feel safe downtown or if it would sway me from living there,” Sinley said. “Maybe I’m a cynic, but I already knew I was moving into a fairly dangerous town. I mean, I walk home at like 1-2 a.m. because of work sometimes, so I was aware of situations like this.”

News stations reached out to interview Sinley for further information about the incident. She had been interviewed earlier and was scheduled for another one. She commented on WTAE’s agenda, pushing for safer streets.

“Articles and everything are saying that we need to work on street safety, ” Sinley said. “I’m going to be very cautious with my words.”

The Chatham Building is replacing the window at no cost to Sinley. The investigation is ongoing, when the police left, they took the bullet with them for evidence.

Spokesman for Pittsburgh Public Safety Amanda Muller offered information in response to recent “incidents” downtown.

 “In the last week, the Mayor’s Office and Public Safety has discussed and released initiatives in response to incidents downtown. You can find those on the city website and social media.”