Pittsburgh police are searching for at least two gunmen who shot and killed five people in an “ambush-style attack” that took place at a suburban cookout. Allegheny County police said four women and a man were killed on Wednesday night. Three of the victims were siblings, and one was pregnant. Three others were hospitalized, with two men in critical condition and one woman in stable condition.
The dead have been identified as Jerry Shelton, 25, his sisters, Chanetta Powell, 35, and Brittany Powell 27, who was pregnant, as well as Tina Shelton, 37, and Shada Mahone, 26.
At least two suspects fled on foot, but the police currently have no suspects in custody, and have yet to discover any kind of motive for this senseless act of violence that district attorney Stephen Zappala called one of the worst he’s seen in his 18-year career. “This was a planned, calculated murder,” said Zappala.
An official press release from police provided additional details: “It would appear from early examination of the scene that a backyard party/cookout was being held at the rear of the home. The ballistic evidence on the scene leads police to believe that two different weapons were discharged from two different people.”
Police do not believe anyone at the party fired back, and most of them got caught in the crossfire fleeing towards the back door when the second gunman fired from the side of the yard.
James Boyd, a 70-year-old resident of the neighborhood, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he thought the gunshots were pipes bursting. “We’ve had trouble in this neighborhood before but never this close to home,” Boyd said. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
Katie McGinty, who is running for a seat on the Pennsylvania state senate, said in a statement, “We cannot simply grieve for this tragedy, wring our hands, and move on… These acts of violence occur far too often in our society. Pennsylvanians demand more of our leaders to fight the scourge of gun violence.”
Watch BET Experience: No Guns Allowed below to help promote disarming violence in our communities:
(Photo: Michael Henninger/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)