In Wilkinsburg, a police officer’s perspective on the toll illegal guns take


Wilkinsburg is a borough on Pittsburgh’s eastern border with a reputation for violence and crime that it’s trying to shake. While violence is down this year in Wilkinsburg, illegal guns remain abundant.

Mark Wilson is a 21-year veteran of the Wilkinsburg Police Department. When violence does erupt in his hometown, Wilson sees up close how the presence of illegal guns escalates the situation. He’s left wondering what pushes someone to take another’s life:

“What is it exactly that was done to you that you feel this person needs to lose their life for?”

Ryan Loew is PublicSource's visual storyteller/producer. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @RyanLoew.

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