Suspects sought in shooting deaths near
Pittsburgh, reward offered
Send a link to a friend
[March 11, 2016]
By Suzannah Gonzales
(Reuters) - Two men suspected of ambushing
partygoers at a backyard barbecue near Pittsburgh and killing five of
them, including a pregnant woman, were being sought by Pennsylvania
police on Thursday.
"The murders were planned, calculated, brutal," Allegheny County
District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr said. Three people were also
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was
offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and
conviction of the gunmen.
One suspect armed with a .40 caliber handgun herded victims from
behind the house toward an alleyway where a second suspect armed
with "an AK-47 type" rifle shot them dead, Zappala said. Police
recovered 49 bullet casings from two guns at the scene.
The shootings occurred in the working-class borough of Wilkinsburg
in Allegheny County, which has a population of about 15,000 and is
some 8 miles (13 km) east of Pittsburgh.
Zappala said the motive was not known, but authorities were
exploring whether it was related to drugs.
"Everybody is a person of interest. There are some we are more
interested in than others," Allegheny County Police Superintendent
Charles Moffatt said at a news conference, noting that the suspects
had fled on foot.
This was the latest in a series of mass shootings in the United
States that have fueled the debate over gun control and turned it
into a presidential campaign issue.
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office identified the dead
as Brittany Powell, 27; her sister, Chanetta Powell, 25; Tina
Shelton, 37; Shada Mahone, 26; and Powell's brother Jerry Shelton,
35. Three of them were from the same family, Moffatt said.
[to top of second column]
Chanetta Powell was eight months pregnant, and the death of her
fetus was ruled a sixth homicide under Pennsylvania law, Moffatt
Tina Shelton was a mother of five who held three jobs and was
encouraged by family members to attend the barbecue to relax after
work, her father Vernes Pugh and other relatives told local station
Two men were in critical condition, Moffatt said. A woman who was
shot was treated and released from a hospital, Allegheny County
spokeswoman Amie Downs said.
(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales, Barbara Goldberg, Amy Tennery and
Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Richard Chang, Toni Reinhold)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.