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CNN Today

City of Churches: Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, Shocked at Racially-Motivated Shooting

Aired March 3, 2000 - 2:23 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The death toll has risen to three in this week's shooting rampage near Pittsburgh. The shootings have stung the community of Wilkinsburg, where the gunman opened fire.

CNN's Bill Delaney spoke with the folks who live there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the City of Churches, Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, there are some 33 houses of prayer, where one man's madness stalked a Wednesday afternoon, where loss now will encompass lifetimes. Dick Depperman, mayor of Wilkinsburg from 1982 to 1989, loves the city and says he's especially shocked by the racism that may have motivated the killer.

DICK DEPPERMAN, FMR. WILKINSBURG, PA, MAYOR: People say, well, it was a white community and now it's about half black and so -- and so therefore it's a terrible place to live, but it's not. It's a nice place!

DELANEY: Dick Depperman also loved Joe Healy, his close friend, a one-time priest, stepfather to seven, who was shot dead in Wednesday's rampage.

DEPPERMAN: Joe was a prince. We're going to miss him. He was great.

DELANEY: Healy was a storyteller. He often regaled children at the Burger King where he died and at a local headstart program that closed, trying to grapple with what happened.

DEPPERMAN: Stop racial prejudice. That's really what brought it on. It's the perfect example of prejudice and anger. There's a lot of anger around, around anywhere. So now something like this is truly a devastating act. We don't need that.

DELANEY: Killings in another place where that wasn't supposed to happen, like the City of Churches.

Bill Delaney, CNN, Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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