Time to stand up and speak up
With 2013 more than half way over, as of the end of August Allegheny County has had 62 homicides, 42 of them being Black individuals. That is 10 less than last year around this time where there were 72 homicides, 59 of them Black and 55 Black males. There is still the potential of having a less deadly year than the last.
But although the deaths are decreasing, the senseless shootings seem to remain the same. This month, as previously reported by the New Pittsburgh Courier, within a five-day span there were six shootings, resulting in one death and five people injured. But what is even more appalling is that many of these incidents were in broad daylight, where there was a potential for children to be injured.
Recently, there have been a number of community meetings and conferences asking what is needed to end the violence. There are discussions of the need for more education and economic opportunities from public officials, and for more response from the police. But there seems to be very few discussions of what we, as a community, need to do.
We, as a community, need to stand up and speak up. We need to stand up for our communities and say that the violent behavior will not be tolerated in our communities, so that our children can go to school and get their education without having to worry about whether or not they will be shot at on their way to school, or so that businesses will want to come into our communities, increasing the opportunities for jobs. And we need to speak up about who the individuals are that are committing these acts.
It is time to take our streets back. Before we can count on others, we have to make a commitment to be responsible for what we can do in our own communities.
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 62 murders, thus far, in 2013—42 were Black and 35 were Black men.
AUGUST HOMICIDES (9)
AUG. 1—Augustus McClain, a 36-year-old Black male from Lincoln-Lemington, was found by authorities with multiple gunshot wounds to his head, torso and arms while sitting in the driver’s side of a parked blue Ford Escape at the corner of North Murtland and Mt. Vernon streets in Homewood. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.
AUG. 3—Zachary Sheridan, a 24-year-old White male from Bookline, was fatally shot in the neck on South Bouquet Street near Sennott Street in Oakland after an altercation broke out between his group and another group in the 3900 block of Forbes Avenue, outside the Original Hot Dog Shop Inc. Sheridan’s group began to walk away, when the other group followed, causing another altercations. A fistfight ensued, after a few punches were exchanged, Sheridan and his group began to runaway, when a male from the other group fired a gun. He was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital; where he later died. Isiah Smith has been charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person. He is awaiting trial.
AUG. 11—Darren Smith, a 34-year-old Black male from Beltzhoover, was fatally shot in the chest outside of his home in the 400 block of Sylvania Avenue in Beltzhoover. He was taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital; where he later died. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.
AUG. 14—Jessica Miller, a 31-year-old White female from Beltzhoover, was found strangled to death outside of her apartment over the One Higgins Street bar in Etna, allegedly by her boyfriend Victor Dinino. He is charged with criminal homicide and is awaiting trial.
AUG. 15—Anthony Wilson, a 24-year-old Black male from Larimer, was found at the bottom of the stairs with multiple gunshots at a residence at 529 Lowell Street in Larimer. He was visiting the residence when an unknown person opened the door and began firing shots. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.
AUG. 22—Laurin Edwards, a 19-year-old White female from Shaler Township, was found shot to death in her room of the Winterset Drive home she shared with her family in Shaler. She was allegedly killed by her father, James Edwards. He also shot his wife, Charlene Edwards, and 21-year-old son Jimmy Edwards and then killed himself. Charlene and Jimmy are expected to recover. No motive is known.
AUG. 22—Jana Randolph, a 49-year-old Black female from McKeesport, was found shot multiple times at close range inside of a crashed vehicle in the 2300 block of Riverview Street in McKeesport. Randolph’s cousin, Carlos Hudson, was also found shot to death in the vehicle. The motive is unknown. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.
AUG. 22—Carlos Hudson, a 41-year-old Black male from McKeesport, was found shot multiple times at close range inside of a crashed vehicle in the 2300 block of Riverview Street in McKeesport. Hudson’s cousin, Jana Randolph, was also found shot to death in the vehicle. The motive is unknown. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.
AUG. 31—Ryan Beal, a 27-year-old White male from Swissvale, was found shot to death outside of his apartment building in the 7400 block of Duquesne Avenue in Swissvale. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.