The Allegheny County police are on the hunt for two men — one armed with a .40-caliber handgun and the other with an assault-style rifle — who targeted a family shortly after 11 p.m in Wilkinsburg during a backyard barbecue. Lt. Andrew Schurman of the Allegheny County homicide unit told reporters one of the shooters aimed toward a relative of one of the victims. Once the man was shot, his body blocked the door, leaving four women vulnerable on the porch. The gunman shot the women while the other fired towards the backyard of the home.
A total of 15 people were at the party.
Police identified the victims as siblings Jerry Shelton, 35, Brittany Powell, 27, and cousins Chanetta Powell, 25; and Tina Shelton, 37, and Shada Mahone, 26. Chanetta Powell was eight months pregnant, increasing the death toll to six. The shooting has officially been labeled a homicide.
There were children inside the home at the time. They were not harmed.
Two men were listed in critical condition and a woman was released from the hospital, according to police.
Residents of the working-class community were shocked to hear about the violence in their backyards. As family members continue to mourn the victims, the police are determined to find the alleged gunmen.
“The murders were planned, calculated, brutal,” Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala told Pittsburgh’s WPXI-TV. He said there were 15 people in the backyard when a shooter armed with a .40-caliber handgun approached from the alley and began shooting.
Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald said Thursday that the Wilkinsburg community is “filled with grief, shock and anger this morning. We share their grief and offer them our support in the days and weeks to come.”
Lt. Schurman said 49 shots were fired in total. A $20,000 reward has been announced for any information related to the shooting.
A motive hasn’t yet been revealed.
SOURCE: USA Today | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty