RAYCO ‘WAR’ SAUNDERS (Courier Photo/William McBride)
The shooting death of a 1-year-old boy at an East Hills cookout has left many in the community feeling outraged and fed up with the Black-on-Black violence.
Early Tuesday evening, two females were injured and their nephew was killed when three men got out of a vehicle and opened fire into a crowd at a cookout in the 2300 block of East Hills Drive. The toddler, who has been identified as Marcus White Jr., 19 months, was taken to Children’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The two females, whose names still have not been released, were taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, one, 19 years old, was listed in stable condition, the second, 20 years old with gunshot wounds to the chest and back, has been listed in critical condition. The women had taken White to the cookout.
“My grandson is gone and he’s not coming back,” said Camille Smith, White’s grandmother. “He was an innocent baby. It was senseless.”
Smith said she has received a lot of support from the community, but asks that people come forward.
The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police released in a statement that they do not believe the three individuals were the intended targets.
The incident has left many in the community feeling outraged, fed up and sending out a message that this senseless violence will not be tolerated.
Rayco “War” Saunders, a parent and professional boxer, said, “It’s an outrage. My son is 7, if something like this happened to him, yes the city would have problems.” He continued to say, “If they (the community) really want to stop crime, the neighborhood has to step up. This has nothing to do with the police. They say when you a person goes to court they’re judged by a jury of their peers. I think your peers should deal with the situation.”
Wednesday, Saunders posted this comment on Facebook, “What’s (on) your mind? Facebook, I THINK that the persons that know who shot the 2 women and killed the 1 yr young baby, should turn him/her over to THE PEOPLE (not the police) and let Us deal with him/her. When you kill babies you don’t deserve “3 hots” and a “cot”! # Disclaimer# I’m not telling or suggesting that anyone do anything illegal, I’m simply answering facebook’s question.”
Saunders said he knows the law doesn’t want people taking matters into their own hands, but he’s a strong believer in the proverb “it takes a village” and believes society needs to go back to when everyone in the community would watch out for the children.
As a solution to the gun violence in the Black community, Saunders offered this alternative solution when individuals are caught.
“We should cut off their trigger fingers, that way their mothers and children can still love them and they can work, because prison isn’t working.”
Like Saunders, others in the community are fed up.