With the New Year brings a new sense of hope. A hope that maybe the “Stop the Violence” message has become clear and gotten through to those who continue to commit the horrific acts that keep police busy, funeral directors in business and loved ones shaking their heads why.

While the seven homicides last month is one more than last year at this time, it is, however, the same as January 2009, which had the lowest number of homicides in the previous three years.

While we, as a community, cannot afford to lose another 100 people, we cannot afford to lose a future generation. Many of the Black individuals on last year’s list were 30 years or under.

For the past few months the Courier has issued challenges, well here’s another. To the individuals committing these heinous acts, please think before you pull that trigger. Think of whose lives you are affecting. It’s not just the person you’re aiming for (and may miss and hit someone else), but it is also their family, your family and most importantly yourself. You may think just because the cops don’t get you, you’ve gotten away with it. But do you really? In most cases in a shooting two people lose their lives. The person shot, and the shooter in most cases spends the rest of his life in prison.

And to those who see the things going on in the streets, but continue to just close their door and think that when the door shuts it doesn’t affect you, that is not true. Because when you shut the door and do not report what you’ve seen or heard, you become almost as guilty as the person committing the crimes. Remember, it’s not “snitching” when you’re not involved. And the police should not assume no one is willing to talk, they should go door to door when a shooting occurs asking people what they saw or heard.

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 seven murders in 2011—five were Black and five were Black men.

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.

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