17 of 20 homicides Black lives…We need to take back our streets

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While this time last year the number of homicides was higher, with 21, the breakdown is far more devastating this year. Last year, 14 of the total number of homicides were Black and 11 were Black men; this year, 17 were Black and 14 were Black men. Enough has to be enough, we are moving in the wrong direction.

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April 4 was the 43rd anniversary of the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What would he say to how things are today? What happened to carrying on his fight? Instead of fighting against racism and for equality, we, especially our young men and women, are fighting against our own people and our mentalities. Most of the shootings are by us. And now the shooting are no longer occurring at night when most people aren’t on the streets; they are happening during the day when our young children are coming home from school or in many cases on their way to school.

For several months we at the New Pittsburgh Courier have been proposing challenges to our readers and the Black community, well here is another one. I propose that we, as innocent members of the Black community, no longer be victims and take a stand. It’s time for all the brainstorming that we do during our community meetings and marches to now be put into action. We’ve talked about what the solutions are, now its time to implement them. It has truly become a matter of life or death.

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 20 murders in 2011, 17 were Black and 14 were Black men.

MARCH HOMICIDES

MARCH 12—Edwin Britt, a 41-year-old Black male from Duquesne, was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds to the head and torso, outside of his home in the 400 block of William Street in Duquesne. No one has been charged with the homicide; the investigation is ongoing.

MARCH 13—William Perry, a 49-year-old Black male from McKeesport, was found dead in the doorway of his home in the 1700 block of Butler Street in McKeesport with two gunshot wounds in the head. A neighbor who was visiting another resident in the building found him. No one has been charged with the homicide; the investigation is ongoing.

MARCH 15—Charles Wooding, a 22-year-old Black male from Homewood, was found shot to death in the chest in the hallway of an apartment building on Milligan Avenue in Swissvale. No one has been charged with the homicide; the investigation is ongoing.

MARCH 17—LaKisha Robinson, a 29-year-old Black female from the North Side, was found lying on the ground with a gunshot wound to the chest and trunk after an individual fired shots into a crowd during an alleged fistfight between several women in the courtyard in the 200 block of East Ohio Street on the North Side. She was taken to Allegheny General Hospital, where she later died. A warrant has been issued for Jessie Lewis. He is expected to face charges of attempted homicide, reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and carrying a loaded weapon.

MARCH 22—Teesha Wil­liams, a 17-year-old Black female from Penn Hills, was found dead inside of her burning home on Azalea Drive in Penn Hills, with a gunshot wound in the head. She had been shot and set on fire when a blanket was ignited on top of her. She died of smoke and fume inhalation due to the fire. Akeem Page-Jones has been charged with homicide, arson, firearms violation, recklessly endangering another person and possibly robbery, theft and burglary. He is currently awaiting trial.

MARCH 23—Trent Colverson, a 21-year-old Black male from Home­wood, was found fatally shot multiple times in the torso on Hackett Way. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Domenique Lewis has been charged with homicide, robbery, two counts of criminal conspiracy and firearms violations.

MARCH 29—Lincoln LaRue, a 20-year-old Black male from Du­quesne, was found dead when authorities responded to a call of a man lying in the middle of Perry Street in the Hill District. He had a gunshot wound to the head. He reportedly had been shot when he was leaving a friend’s house. No one has been charged with the homicide; the investigation is ongoing.

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.

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 inv
estigation 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. D’Andre Black and Cornell Pointer have been charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy and criminal attempted homicide. They are currently awaiting trial. (D’ Andre Black is not the standout Schenley High School basketball and football star, with the same name.)

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.

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