Judge dismisses charges against teen in Pennsylvania amusement park shooting

A judge has dismissed all charges against a teenager wounded in a shooting at a western Pennsylvania amusement park that also sent another teen and an adult to the hospital.

An Allegheny County district court judge dismissed aggravated assault, reckless endangering and firearms charges against the 15-year-old defendant in the Sept. 24 gunfire at Kennywood Park on the opening night of the park’s Phantom Fall Fest.

Defense attorney Kenneth Haber called the case presented by prosecutors "smoke and mirrors," arguing that they had circumstantial evidence that proved only that his client was a gunshot victim at the park that night. Suggesting that public outrage may have pushed authorities to move forward with the case, Haber said Wednesday that prosecutors "have nothing but a theory, and theories are not evidence."

Park officials said the shooting followed an altercation between two groups of teenagers near the Musik Express ride at the park in West Mifflin, southeast of Pittsburgh. A 39-year-old man and a 15-year-old were taken to hospitals with leg wounds and the youth eventually arrested had a graze wound.

Investigators said two guns were fired and authorities were searching for a second suspect. Officials were trying to figure out how the weapons got into the park. Kennywood later announced new security measures including more police, more security along perimeter fences, and limits on bag sizes and masks covering faces.

Authorities said they believe the gunfire stemmed from a feud between two groups of teenagers that has led to scores of shootings in several Mon Valley communities.