37 of 53 homicides Black lives…What will it take for no more Black homicides?

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Well unfortunately, as predicted, the no Black homicides in June were just a precursor to a deadly month of July for the Black community. With eight Black homicides in July and a total of 37 Black homicides this year in Allegheny County, the question remains, “What will it take to end the senseless killings?”

It wasn’t enough that a toddler was killed in broad daylight while at a community picnic or that a well-known community activist was killed while being rob­bed, for the message of no more senseless deaths to be spread; what other deaths do we need to hear or read about before we, as a community, get serious?

Over the last couple weeks we have marched and rallied for justice for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was killed by a wanna-be cop, Florida neighborhood watchman, who thought Martin looked suspicious. And while many can admit that the not guilty verdict was disheartening, what about taking that same energy to rally in our communities against the Black on Black violence that our teenage children face daily?

The idea of no Black homicides in Allegheny County is possible; we have seen it, now we need to continue to keep that momentum going.

The New Pittsburgh Courier for a while now, has been issuing challenges to the community to address this growing epidemic, well here is another; we challenge you to keep the numbers at zero. We cannot afford to lose another life.

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 effect the mental health, economic well-being and self-images of the region’s Black neighborhoods.

Out of the 53 murders, thus far, in 2013—37 were Black and 31 were Black men.    

JULY HOMICIDES (11)

JULY 4—Jamil Lloyd-El, a 20-year-old Black male from Pittsburgh, was found with a gunshot wound to the chest when he rang the doorbell of a residence in the 300 block of Winston Street in Hazelwood. When the owner opened the door, Lloyd-El was found on the porch. He was taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital; where he later died. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.

JULY 6—Jill Clark, a 50-year-old White female from East Deer Township, was found dead in a wooded area of Plum Borough after being reported missing days earlier by co-workers. Clark had reportedly been beaten to death with a floor jack. Tom Clark, her husband, has been charged with her homicide, along with abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. He allegedly fought with her, then beat her to death and then disposed of her body. He was allegedly found trying to commit suicide. He is awaiting trial.

JULY 7—Lamar Pondexter, a 36-year-old Black male from Carrick, was found shot to death at Nobles Lane and Denise Street in Carrick. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.

JULY 7—James Lapford, a 34-year-old Black male from Homewood, was found with gunshot wounds on Pearl Road in Penn Hills. He was taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital; where he later died. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.

JULY 9—Robert Brooks, a 27-year-old White male from Lebanon County, was fatally shot by police in the torso and extremities after a struggle that began when Brooks allegedly broke into the home of his ex-lover and cousin’s former wife on Thorn Street in Sewickley. Police found him in the home hiding, when he wouldn’t follow their commands; they shot him with a taser. He allegedly pulled it out and grabbed for an officer’s gun when they shot him. He had reportedly had an altercation with the woman of the home earlier in the day. Involved officers have been placed on administrative leave while the incident is being investigated, which is protocol.

JULY 13—Jewell Shelby Jr., a 23-year-old Black male from the North Side, was found lying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds at a playground in the 600 block of Wandless Street in the Hill District. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.

JULY 16—James Fleming, a 39-year-old Black male from Homewood, was shot while working on a vehicle along Kedron Street in Homewood. He was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital; where he died minutes later. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.

JULY 16—Samantha Powe, a 30-year-old Black female from East Liberty, was found lying face down in a puddle with gunshot wounds to her body in a wooded alley on Hallam Street in Homewood. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.

JULY 26—William Menni, a 58-year-old White male from McKees Rocks, was fatally shot near the William Welsh Funeral Home in the 300 block of East Park Way in Homestead after a heated confrontation broke out between him and the owner, reported a former friend and business associate. Menni was allegedly shot after he shoved the man. He was taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital; where he later died. William Welsh has been charged with criminal homicide. He is awaiting his trial.

JULY 31—Kevin Kirkland, a 45-year-old Black male from East Carnegie, was fatally shot in the chest in the 700 block of Idlewood Avenue in East Carnegie after an argument erupted over a television set. After the argument escalated to a fight, Kirkland was shot. Aaron Israel has been charged with criminal homicide. He is awaiting trial.

JULY 31—Derrick Lyman, a 24-year-old Black male from East Hills, was found fatally shot on the first floor of his apartment building at 2103 Park Hill Dr., in East Hills. He was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital; where he later died. Rayshawn Williams has been charged with involvement in the incident. He is currently awaiting arraignment.

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