10 of 13 homicides Black lives

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February is the special month where we, as African-Americans, reflect on the legacy and contributions to society of our ancestors and individuals that have come before us. It should not be one where a mother has to reflect on why someone stabbed her son and cut up his body over a girl or why her son had to spend his last few breaths in a wooded Home­wood area? Or worse, one where a three-year-old boy has to wonder why he will never get to grow up with his mother, because his grandmother stabbed her during an argument and took her away from him. And now his grandmother is gone too, because she is sitting in a jail.

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This month each individual on the homicide list was under the age of 27 and in many of the instances their deaths were committed by persons under the age of 30. And what’s worse is that if someone would have taken a second to think before reacting, most of the names would not have appeared. Now not only are these lives gone, so are the lives of the ones who committed the crime and each party’s family.

Recently we at the New Pittsburgh Courier have begun issuing a challenge to individuals in hopes that the list will get smaller and the list of lives lost will become shorter. This month we encourage individuals to truly stop and think before they react. Is what you are about to do, really worth it? Because you are not only affecting one person’s life, you are affecting many including yours. Take the time and think. Is shooting that dude for talking to your girl or killing someone for steppin’ in on your territory truly worth it? No. Just think, while you’re in jail serving time for those acts, that girl you shot a guy for will be with some other guy and the territory you killed for will be occupied by someone else.

As part of an ongoing effort to heighten awareness about the effects of murder in Black communities, the New Pittsburgh Courier will compile a list of homicides in the County each month. It is our hope that as the list of victims grows, so will a true understanding of how these lost lives affect the mental health, economic well-being and self-images of the region’s Black neighborhoods.

Out of the 13 murders in 2011- 10 were Black and 9 were Black men.

February Homicides (6)

FEB. 10—Devin Scott, a 19-year-old Black male from Mt. Oliver, was reportedly shot in the chest in the 300 block of East Warrington Avenue in Beltzhoover. When authorities arrived a pedestrian had been performing CPR to Scott who was on the sidewalk. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.

FEB. 12—Dane Smith Jr., a 21-year-old Black male from the Hill District, was found shot multiple times, including one to the head, in the 2500 block of Centre Avenue in the Hill District after he had been chased from the 2300 block of Reed Street where the gunfire began. He was taken to UPMC Mercy, where he later died. Marcus Smith has been charged with criminal homicide. He is currently awaiting trial.

FEB. 13—Michael Kitonis, a 20-year-old White male from Duquesne, was found shot to death in the chest outside of 409 Hamilton Ave. in Duquesne during an alleged altercation where he pulled the gun out and was shot after both parties wrestled for it. James R. Miller Jr. has been charged with the death and is awaiting trial.

FEB. 13—William King, a 23-year-old Black male from Penn Hills, was found stabbed and dismembered on a hillside in Plum near Coxcomb Hill Road after he had been reported missing several days earlier. Vito Pelino has been charged with homicide, abuse of a corpse and kidnapping. He allegedly killed King for trying to have sex with his sister after a night of drinking at a Verona bar. He allegedly picked up King, stabbed him, took the body to his mother’s house and chopped it up. Corey Robert has also been charged with abuse of a corpse and conspiracy for helping to dispose of the body. They are currently awaiting trial.

FEB. 18—Waishard White, a 22-year-old Black male from Wilkinsburg, was found dead with a gunshot wound to the chest near the 7200 block of Stranahan Street in Homewood. Authorities believe he had been shot earlier in the week in the 7100 block of Everton Street where they have a report of shots fired and someone injured. No one has been charged with the incident; the investigation is ongoing.

FEB. 23—Felecia Greene, a 26-year-old Black female from Oakland, was fatally stabbed during a domestic dispute with her mother at the mother’s residence in the 2000 block of DeRaud Street in the Hill District. Both parties had been injured and she was taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital, where she later died. The dispute was allegedly over the care of Greene’s son. Terrie Greene, her mother, has been charged with criminal homicide. She is currently awaiting a preliminary hearing.

January Homicides (7)

JAN. 1—Tauvea Hurt, a 20-year-old Black male from Clairton, was fatally shot in the abdomen when two men entered the residence at 2305 Lincoln Ave. in Clairton, where he was attending a New Year’s Eve party. He was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center, where he later died. Keith and Lindsey Wright have been charged with homicide, conspiracy and burglary. They allegedly had an ongoing feud with Hurt over another incident. They are currently awaiting trial.

JAN. 2—Larry James-Watson, a 19-year-old Black male from McKees Rocks, was fatally shot in the chest in the 5400 block of Youngridge Drive during an apparent home invasion at the Leland Point Apartments in Baldwin. James-Watson allegedly approached the home, fired a shot through a window, hitting the owner and tried to enter through the window. The owner reportedly fired back hitting James-Watson. The owner is unlikely to face charges. The investigation is ongoing.

JAN. 15—James Redshaw, a 30-year-old White male from the North Side, was found fatally stabbed in the chest at a home on Lithgrow Street in the North Side. Redshaw was allegedly stabbed during a fight. He was taken to Allegheny General Hospital where he later died. Calvin Tucker has been charged with criminal homicide. He is currently awaiting trial.

JAN. 16—Ronald Washington, a 24-year-old Black male from Pittsburgh, was shot in the chest while sitting in a vehicle on Lombard Street in the Hill District. Two men had allegedly been seen standing outside the vehicle and then opening fire on the vehicle. The vehicle sped off and was driven to Mercy Hospital, where he later died. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.

JAN. 23—Jorman Wright Jr., a 30-year-old Black male from Lawrenceville, was shot in the head in the 6400 Block of Frankstown Avenue outside of a Sunoco A-Plus Gas Station in Larimer. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.

JAN. 25—Jabbar Fridia, a 27-year-old Black male from the North Side, was fatally shot multiple times in the torso as he was driving on Marsden Street in Hazelwood. He lost control, hit a home and the vehicle flipped over. Fridia was freed from the vehicle and taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital where he later died. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.

JAN. 26—Steven MacKowski, a 38-year-old White male from Verona, was found shot to death in a parked car in the 200 block of Kansas Street in Penn Hills. He had allegedly been shot in Homewood and driven to Penn Hills. Samuel Rice has been charged with homicide, reckless endangerment and firearms violation.
He is currently awaiting trial.

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