Well with last year over, wrapped up and tucked away into the box labeled history, it can be reported that 2013 was less deadly than the year before. The total of 91 homicides in Allegheny County, 65 of them being Black individuals, is less than 2012’s total of 96 homicides, 78 of those Black. Although there were not as many as the year before, 91 homicides, and especially 65 of them being Black, is just too many. The senseless killings must end.
While each loss is disheartening, there were several senseless homicides that stood out over the year. For instance, the January death of local activist and businessman Isaiah Dent, 61, who was found beaten to death in the bathroom of his McKees Rocks apartment.
Then there was the October deaths of Omar Islam, a 21-year-old who was shot to death by three individuals who were looking to rob him while he was innocently waiting for a bus at the Homewood station on the East Busway; and Jasemine Morris, 21, and Demetrius Broadnax, 27, who were killed at a private club on Kelly Street in Homewood when someone opened fire at a party they were both attending.
But what may have been the most tragic of them all, was the May shooting death of “Baby Marcus,” an innocent 1-year-old from East Hills who was shot while attending a community picnic with his aunts.
Three men drove up and opened fire into the crowd, killing him and wounding two others. What is even more horrific is that, with all the individuals who were in attendance, no one has yet to be charged with the murder of this truly innocent child.
When violence is in our communities, it keeps them from truly thriving. It lowers property values and it keeps new businesses out.
In order for this epidemic of senseless Black-on-Black violence that is plaguing our neighborhoods to end, it’s going to take a community-wide effort from public officials, police officers and residents. It’s going to take public officials passing tougher gun legislation and a stronger police presence in our communities.
But most importantly it’s going to take initiative from the residents. We cannot ask for help cleaning up our streets, if we’re not even willing to pick up the broom.
It’s time to get real about taking our streets back from these people who think they can overrun them with drugs, guns and violence. We, as members of the community, can no longer just sit back and continue to let this happen. We have to get rid of the “it didn’t happen to me, so I’m not gonna get involved” mentality.
We are all affected, if it happens to one in our communities, it happens to us all.
Most of these homicides remain unsolved, with the same individuals are killing over and over again because people are not speaking up. If you see something, you need to report it; it can even be anonymously. Remember, it’s only snitching if you’re involved in the wrongdoing. Let’s help to make 2014 an even better year.
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 91 murders in 2013—65 were Black and 56 were Black men.
DECEMBER HOMICIDES (5)
DEC. 8—Jared Brown-Garnham, a 21-year-old Black male last known to be from Massachusetts, was fatally shot in the head by a state trooper at the Pittsburgh International Airport in Coraopolis, after he held a knife to and used an 8-month-old child he kidnapped as a shield during a chase. Brown-Garnham kidnapped the baby from her mother, his ex-girlfriend, outside of a Brentwood pizza shop. He is not the child’s father. During the chase, Brown-Garnham reportedly rammed several gates at the airport, crashed into police cruisers and threatened the baby with a knife to its throat. He was shot and taken to Allegheny General Hospital, where he later died. The child was taken to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for evaluations, injuries to the neck from the knife and released. The trooper involved has been placed on administrative leave while the incident is investigated, which is protocol.
DEC. 10—Caleb Williams, a 20-year-old Black male from Turtle Creek, was fatally shot to death in the trunk and neck as he and another person left an apartment in the 1700 block of Letsche Street in the North Side. Shots were fired from an adjoining apartment. He was taken to Allegheny General Hospital, where he later died. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.
DEC. 17—Mickey Liposchok, a 52-year-old White male from Port Vue, was found fatally shot in the living room of the home he shared with his father, Richard Liposchok, in the 1900 block of New York Avenue, in Port Vue. Richard Liposchok, who was taking care of his mentally ill son Liposchok, was found in the bedroom with a riffle. It is believed that this was a murder-suicide.
DEC. 19—LeRico Morgan, a 27-year-old Black male from Beltzhoover, was shot in the chest while leaving a home in the 100 block of Onyx Avenue in Mt. Oliver. He was standing on the porch when an SUV pulled up and began to fire shots. Morgan managed to make it into the house, where he was found and pronounced dead at the scene. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.
DEC. 26—Johnny Johnson, a 32-year-old Black male from West Mifflin, died days after being fatally shot at the Sandy Creek Inn, 4813 Verona Rd., in Penn Hills, on Dec. 18. He had been taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, where he later died. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.
JANUARY HOMICIDES (6)
JAN. 1—Ka’Sandra Wade, a 33-year-old Black female from Larimer, was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds in her Lowell Street home when authorities visited her residence after receiving concerns from relatives. Wade was killed by her boyfriend, Anthony Brown, one day after authorities, who had answered a 9-1-1 call she placed, left without investigating the call when Brown came to the window and told them everything was okay. Brown later shot himself after a brief police standoff.
JAN. 10—Deondre Pace, a 16-year-old Black male from Beltzhoover, was found laying on the sidewalk with multiple shots to the torso in front of Sheffield Funeral Home near Beltzhoover Avenue and Climax Street, in Beltzhoover. He had been leaving a convenience store near his home, when two men approached him and opened fire. Pace was taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital, where he later died. Ashanti Montgomery has been charged with criminal homicide, firearms not carried without a license and criminal conspiracy.
JAN. 11—Jayemond Bailey, a 34-year-old Black male from McKeesport, was shot to death at Street Stars bar, on Sixth Avenue in McKeesport. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.
JAN. 13—Lou Auer, a 37-year-old White male from East Liberty, was found dead with a gunshot wound to the torso outside of 322 N. Negley Ave., in East Liberty. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.
JAN. 23—Michael Andrews, a 27-year-old Black male from East Hills, was found fatally shot during an alleged home invasion in the 5300 block of Brown Way in Garfield. A masked man knocked on the door of the home that was occupied by two men. When one of the males answered the door, he was shot in the face. After hearing the shot, the other male in the residence got a gun and exchanged shots with the masked man. Andrews was found in front of the home and was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, where he later died. The other men were wounded. Authorities did not clarify if Andrews lived at the house or was the intruder. The investigation is ongoing.
JAN. 28—Isaiah Dent, a 61-year-old Black male from McKees Rocks, was found beaten to death in the bathroom of his Hays Manor apartment on Locust Street in McKees Rocks. Sean Overton has been charged with criminal homicide, robbery and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. He is awaiting trial.
FEBRUARY HOMICIDES (5)
FEB. 4—Maurice Bruce, a 32-year-old Black male from Pittsburgh, was found shot to death in the bushes near the intersection of Hamilton Avenue and Sterrett Street, in Homewood, by an individual walking by. He was reportedly shot after leaving a local bar earlier in the day and had been in the bushes for hours. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.
FEB. 19—Constance Johnston, a 76-year-old White female from Richland Township, was stabbed to death from behind by her grandson as she sat, eating breakfast, in the kitchen of her Richland Township home in the 3900 block of Gibson Road, with her husband. Her grandson, Levi Daniel Starver, allegedly stabbed her after the archangel Michael told him to kill her while he was on the computer. Starver has been charged with criminal homicide.
FEB. 23—Brian Wright Jr., a 26-year-old Black male from Homewood, was found with a gunshot wound to the chest at the intersection of Tangent Way and Enterprise Street in Larimer. Wright was pronounced dead at the scene. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.
FEB. 24—Andre Broadie, a 25-year-old Black male from Penn Hills, was shot in the head inside a home in the 5100 block of Columbo Street in Garfield when he and another male entered the home of a person they knew. It has been reported that Broadie was thought to be an intruder. Investigators are calling it a case of mistaken identity. It is unknown if charges will be filed. The investigation is ongoing.
FEB. 28—Tiona Jackson, a 28-year-old Black female from the Hill District, was shot to death while leaving Red’s Ringside Café near the intersection of East Warrington and Vincent Street in Beltzhoover. A male was also injured. Jackson was pronounced dead at the scene. James Lawrence has been charged with criminal homicide.
MARCH HOMICIDES (9)
MARCH 3—John Sumpter, a 32-year-old Black male of Wilkinsburg, was fatally shot multiple times while sitting in his vehicle outside of Club Pink, a Munhall Strip Club in the 900 block of East Eighth Avenue, after a fight earlier that evening. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Paul Barrone is charged with homicide and is awaiting trial.
MARCH 6—Maurice Penny, a 24-year-old Black male from McKees Rocks, was found dead with multiple shots when a shootout erupted in the hallway of an apartment building in the 500 block of Penn Avenue in Friendship. Penny was a rapper also known as “Big Penny.” No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.
MARCH 11—James Adams, a 29-year-old White male from Imperial, was fatally shot in the head while inside the Fort Pitt Inn bar in North Fayette after a man, who was also inside, reportedly became angry after a text message conversation with his girlfriend, walked out and came back in with three handguns. David Mazzocco is charged with homicide, attempted homicide, two counts of aggravated assault, 11 counts of reckless endangerment and weapons violations. He is awaiting trial.
MARCH 19—Lora Hoffman, a 31-year-old White female from Sheraden, was allegedly stabbed to death by her brother in her Sheraden home in the 3600 block of Allendale Circle when they were allegedly arguing over him lying on the couch while the family was watching television. He reportedly walked into the kitchen, grabbed a knife and returned stabbing her multiple times in the head, face and neck. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Chris Hoffman is charged with homicide and is awaiting trial.
MARCH 26—Terrance Moore, a 34-year-old Black male from Clairton, died hours after being shot in his car during a gunfight outside a home on Halcomb Avenue. He was taken to Allegheny General Hospital, where he later died. Others were also injured. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.
MARCH 28—Bernadette Scholl, a 74-year-old White female from Munhall, died from injuries she sustained when she was allegedly shot by her son, Anthony Scholl, in her Munhall home on Longfellow Drive. She was found when officers entered her home after a standoff with her son. Anthony Scholl is charged with homicide and weapons violations. He is awaiting trial.
MARCH 29—Kellcy Thomas, an 18-year-old Black male from McKeesport, was found with gunshot wounds to the trunk in the 1400 block of Evans Avenue. He had been taken to UPMC McKeesport, where he later died. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.
MARCH 30—Steven Lee Jr., a 21-year-old Black male from McKees Rocks, was fatally shot abroad a “party bus” near Chartiers Street in Sheraden after a fight reportedly broke out. He was taken to Allegheny General Hospital, where he later died. James Lawrence has been charged with criminal homicide.
MARCH 30—Mark Rucker, a 21-year-old Black male from Monroeville, was found shot to death in the stairwell of a building in the Cambridge Square housing complex. He was allegedly shot in the chest and died at the scene after another man accused Rucker of sleeping with his girlfriend. Jamey McKee has been charged with homicide.
MARCH 31—Chad Vida, a 40-year-old White male from Etna, was found in the outbound lanes of Liberty Avenue, hit by a vehicle, in the 4000 block of Liberty Avenue near the Bloomfield Bridge. He had allegedly gotten into a verbal altercation with the driver who hit him. He was taken to a local hospital; where he later died. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing. Vida was recently added to the homicide list.