Student in fair condition after father attacks family in Shaler

8-29 News - Shooting (photo- aw)
Photo by Aaron Warnick | Photo Editor. Flowers and stuffed animals sit by the tree outside of Jimmy Edwards’ home Tuesday afternoon in Shaler Township. Donations are being accepted to the Edwards Family Fund at any First Commonwealth Bank branch.

By Julian Routh | News Editor

Fourth-year pharmacy major Jimmy Edwards is in fair condition in Allegheny General Hospital after his father opened fire at their home in Shaler last Thursday morning.

The condition of Edwards, 21, was upgraded from critical to fair on Sunday, according to hospital spokesperson Dan Laurent. He remained in fair condition Wednesday.

To help pay for medical expenses, funeral costs and Edwards’ education, the family is accepting donations to the Edwards Family Fund at First Commonwealth Bank, according to WPXI.

Allegheny County Police say Edwards’ father, James Edwards, 52, went room-to-room with two .44-caliber revolvers and attempted to kill his family before turning the gun on himself. James Edwards and 19-year-old daughter Laurin Edwards died at the scene. The elder Edwards also killed the family’s dog.

Charlene Edwards, 51, Jimmy Edwards’ mother, is also in fair condition at Allegheny General Hospital, Laurent said.

According to fourth year nursing major Jay Grubic, Jimmy Edwards is a “really nice kid” who loves hockey and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The two went to the same middle school and high school.

“Sometimes we will play pickup hockey and basketball down at the green courts on campus,” Grubic said. “He’s a strong person and I wish him a full recovery. His family is in my thoughts and prayers.”

Duquesne spokesperson Bridget Fare offered the university’s condolences to the family.

“Words can’t accurately express the deep shock and sadness the Duquesne University community feels about this horrific incident,” Fare said. “We can’t imagine what they are going through. We are praying for [Jimmy Edwards] and his mother to make a full recovery and we express our deepest sympathies to their family and friends.”

The Rev. Sean Hogan, Duquesne’s executive vice president of student life, sent a statement via email to the student body last Thursday afternoon notifying them of the shooting.

“Please join us in praying for [Jimmy Edwards] and his family, their loved ones and friends, and our fellow Catholic community of St. Francis during this difficult time,” Hogan said.

The shooting happened in the family’s home on the 400-block of Winterset Drive in Shaler Township. Police responded to a 911 call from inside the house at approximately 3 a.m.

Edwards’ father had just been placed on suspension pending further action last Friday at work where he was an electrician, according to police.

A spokeswoman for the Allegheny County Airport Authority confirmed James Edwards worked there since June 2011.

Allegheny County Police reported two different 911 calls were placed concerning the case. The first came from Charlene Edwards in the home. The second came from someone who was playing online video games with Jimmy Edwards when the shooting occurred and heard gunshots being fired and screams over the connection.

Laurin Edwards, who attended Saint Francis University, was remembered in a Twitter post last Thursday afternoon by Phi Lambda Psi, a sorority she was a member of.

“Last year Lammies was blessed with [Laurin] as sister and now the world is blessed with an angel. We will never forget this amazing girl,” the post said.

Classmates at Saint Francis held a vigil on Sunday to remember Laurin. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Worrell Funeral Home in Sharpsburg.