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49 Shots Fired- 6 People Killed At Family Barbeque In Pittsburgh

49 Shots Fired- 6 People Killed At Family Barbeque In Pittsburg

The victims of Wednesday night’s horrific shooting at a family cookout in Wilkinsburg never had a chance.

Investigators said Thursday that two shooters — one armed with a .40-caliber handgun and the other with an assault-style rifle — staked out angles behind a pair of backyard fences just before 11 p.m. and mercilessly gunned down their targets, killing six, including an unborn child, and wounding three.

Children inside the house at 1304 Franklin Ave. were not injured.

“[The victims] were herded there on the porch. It was just horrible,” said Chris Taylor, assistant special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is assisting with the investigation.

The shooters approached the house from Hazel Way, an alley behind the home. The shooter in the alley fired a handgun at the group in the backyard, sending the victims running toward the house for cover. The second shooter, positioned at a fence near the back door and armed with the rifle, sprayed them as they went up the porch steps.

“They funneled them onto the porch and then just lit them up,” Agent Taylor said. “It was like a military [operation], like when I was in the Marines. That’s totally what it looked like. They were funneling them. It made them an easy target. Then once the first guy died, he blocked the door and the girls were stuck on the porch and buh-buh-buh-buh, they’re all down there behind him. Thank God the kids were all right.”

Investigators said Thursday that two shooters — one armed with a .40-caliber handgun and the other with an assault-style rifle — staked out angles behind a pair of backyard fences just before 11 p.m. and mercilessly gunned down their targets, killing six, including an unborn child, and wounding three.

Children inside the house at 1304 Franklin Ave. were not injured.

“[The victims] were herded there on the porch. It was just horrible,” said Chris Taylor, assistant special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is assisting with the investigation.

The shooters approached the house from Hazel Way, an alley behind the home. The shooter in the alley fired a handgun at the group in the backyard, sending the victims running toward the house for cover. The second shooter, positioned at a fence near the back door and armed with the rifle, sprayed them as they went up the porch steps.

“They funneled them onto the porch and then just lit them up,” Agent Taylor said. “It was like a military [operation], like when I was in the Marines. That’s totally what it looked like. They were funneling them. It made them an easy target. Then once the first guy died, he blocked the door and the girls were stuck on the porch and buh-buh-buh-buh, they’re all down there behind him. Thank God the kids were all right.”

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office identified the victims as siblings Jerry Michael Shelton, 35, Brittany Powell, 27, and Chanetta Powell, 25, and their cousins Tina Shelton, 37, and Shada Mahone, 26. Chanetta Powell was eight months’ pregnant.

Two men were in critical condition at UPMC Mercy, though authorities reported some improvement in their conditions. Another woman was treated and released.

Allegheny County homicide Lt. Andrew Schurman said 49 shots were fired, 31 from an AK-47 and 18 from the handgun.

Agent Taylor said the use of the assault rifle at such close range meant some of the shots passed through one victim and into another. One woman had 50 bullet holes in her body, counting entry and exit wounds, he said.

“I’m getting shot with everything you’re getting shot with,” he said, describing the gruesome scene. “When you’re only 5, 6 feet away, the bullets are going through three people, they were so close. That’s why law enforcement [officers carry] ammo that stops in people. We don’t want to shoot somebody and it goes through people.

“But this was like what the Soviet army used to use. This was an AK-47 or something similar to that, based on the shot pattern. … This is a common rifle you see at gun shows, with the banana clip that bends forward. It’s cheap. You can buy it anywhere.”

See More- Post-Gazette

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