KEEPING THE PEACE—City Council members stand with “Community Difference-Makers” and organizers of the “Juneteenth: Stop the Violence” event at the proclamation ceremony during the City Council meeting on June 24.



For the first time in years, the numbers for Black homicides have stayed the same for two consecutive months. While June had two homicides, neither of them were Black individuals?

Has the message of a zero tolerance for violence in the Black community, finally reached the right individuals? Has the community finally decided to take a united stand and say this behavior is unacceptable?

While the reasons for the lack of Black homicides this month are unknown, what is known is that we, as a community, must use this milestone as an inspiration to continue our efforts, so that no more of our young Black men end up being just another name on the list, instead of a teacher, a lawyer, or whatever they may want to be. Please let’s not let this be a precursor to a deadly summer. Now that we see what can be, we must continue to do.

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

Out of the 40 murders, thus far, in 2013—29 were Black and 24 were Black men.


JUNE 18—Alisha Virtue, a 25-year-old White female from Reserve Township, was found fatally shot to death in a home in the 3400 block of Spring Garden Road in Reserve Township. She was allegedly shot by her ex-boyfriend, Nicholas Starr, who later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. It was ruled a murder-suicide.

JUNE 26—Brian Cook, a 24-year-old White male from McKeesport, was fatally shot during a home invasion in the 2600 block of Versailles Avenue in McKeesport. He and his girlfriend, who was also injured, were shot while they were reportedly in bed with their 1-year-old in the home. The infant was not injured. No one has been charged; the investigation is ongoing.


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