Three teenagers will be charged as adults in the shooting death of a 22-year-old woman in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
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Kayla Peterson, 22, died after one of the teens shot her in the stomach as she stood on her front porch on Saturday afternoon in Beaver Falls.
Todavia S. Cleckley and Marcus Velasquez, both 14, were charged with conspiracy to commit criminal homicide in the shooting death of the Beaver Falls woman who was the mother of a 23-month-old baby. Valasqiuez has been charged with criminal homicide, two felony counts of aggravated assault and two misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment. A third teenager, 13-year-old Kyle Goosby Jr. has been charged with criminal conspiracy to commit homicide.
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Goosby is in police custody but Cleckley and Velasquez are still at-large, according to the Beaver County Times.
Though details behind why the shooting took place are not clear, The Times reports a dispute over a cigarette may have started the gunfire:
William Bailey, 28, said just after 3 p.m. he had walked to J’s News on Seventh Avenue to buy cigarettes, and as he left the store a group of three boys began to follow him and ask for a cigarette. Bailey said he ignored the boys, and they followed him the entire way to Peterson’s house.
“I didn’t look at them. I didn’t acknowledge them,” Bailey said. He said the boys yelled at him, used foul language and got progressively louder.
When Bailey arrived at the house, he said Peterson, who was his fiancé, came out and said to the group of boys, “Why don’t you guys get a job.” He said she also told them to quit running the streets.
That’s when one of the teens pulled out a gun, Bailey said. He said when Goosby saw the gun he ran. “He didn’t want any part of that,” Bailey said.
He said the shooter, who police have identified as Velasquez, looked at Cleckley, turned and fired the gun.
Bailey said he was looking around to see where the bullet hit when he heard Peterson say, “Ouch. I can’t feel my legs. I want to lay down.”
“It didn’t look that bad. There wasn’t a lot of blood,” Bailey said of Peterson’s wound.
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Police said Peterson was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital where she died from her injuries. Bailey, the father of Peterson’s child, says that he knows the families of the boys involved in the shooting and that he has received condolences and apologies from the boys’ families. The teens have criminal pasts, according to The Times:
Velasquez had at least five previous run-ins with Beaver Falls police. He still is awaiting a hearing on two disorderly conduct citations filed by city police in connection with Nov. 20 and 21 incidents. Velasquez pleaded guilty on Nov. 20 to disorderly conduct and harassment from a June 13, 2011, fight. Two previous disorderly conduct and harassment cases from May 30, 2009, and Nov. 1, 2009, were dismissed on May 5, 2010.
Cleckley and Goosby also have previous incidents listed in online court records. Cleckley pleaded guilty on Nov. 8 to violation of compulsory school attendance in the Big Beaver Falls School District and was fined. Goosby pleaded guilty on Sept. 6 to a disorderly conduct charge for an unspecified incident and was found guilty on Oct. 20, 2011, of disorderly conduct in connection with a Sept. 20, 2011, in Beaver Falls and fined. An harassment citation filed in connection with an Aug. 27, 2010, incident was dismissed at the Sept. 20, 2011, hearing.
Beaver Falls Police Chief Charles Jones said the crime, along with the suspects’ ages, is quite disconcerting. “It’s disheartening juveniles this age were involved in an incident like this, and have guns,” Jones said.
Bailey, in an extraordinary act of empathy, offered emotional support to the men who took his fiance and the mother of child. “I pray for the families that they can handle losing their kids now because of what they’ve done and I pray for (my daughter) because she has to grow up without her mom.”