EAST HILLS (KDKA) – Marcus White was a happy 19-month-old baby, who was loved by everyone. However, last night, three gunmen opened fire at the picnic he was at and he was killed.
Two young women, ages 19 and 20, were also wounded. Police said they were not the intended targets and the search for the gunmen continues.
The family of the toddler said they want the men to turn themselves in.
“He was our pride and joy and everything is in God’s hands now,” the victim’s great-grandmother, Lenora Smith, said.
KDKA’s Heather Abraham Reports:
White was just a few months shy of his second birthday, while in the arms of his aunt last night, shots were fired into a crowd of people. Marcus was one of those shot.
“He was a happy baby. Everybody loved him. He didn’t deserve it,” his mother, Jameela Tyler, said. “All of this about what? I just don’t understand it.”
Still in shock and very stoic, Tyler is wrestling with the fact that her only child is gone and the people responsible are still on the loose.
Police believe that possibly three gunmen were behind the shooting. Not only was Marcus killed in the gunfire, but Jameela’s two sisters were also hit.
“Turn yourself in. A 1-year-old was killed and both of my sisters are still in the hospital getting surgeries,” Tyler said.
Jameela’s 20-year-old sister had been holding Marcus during the shooting and was found lying on top of him with a gunshot wound to her chest. She was critically injured. Jameela’s 19-year-old sister, was in serious, but stable condition after suffering a gunshot wound as well.
“It’s no sense in this baby being dead for some nonsense. Y’all need to put the guns down, whoever you are. You’re [going to] rot in hell because God did not mean for this to happen,” Smith’s godmother, Patricia Mathias, said.
In the wake of the deadly shooting, East Hills community leaders met with City Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess and State Rep. Ed Gainey today about putting an end to the violence.
KDKA’s Harold Hayes Reports:
“This was a horrific incident, one that is bringing our whole city to sadness. Even though these events are horrific, they represent a small minority of people who are doing very bad things,” Councilman Burgess said during the meeting. “People should live not in fear; and when terrorists who have no respect for life come in and break the peace of a community, it creates a terror that one can feel for some time to come, and that’s not acceptable.”
“It’s a sad day. It’s a sad day when a baby is dying due to senseless gun shooting. It’s a sad day when a community is mourning the loss of the innocent,” added Rep. Gainey. “Right now, I can feel the pain in this room. You can feel the pain amongst the city of us knowing that a baby is dead. I’m asking this whole community and this whole city to come together.”
And as the community is searching for answers, Pastor Claudia Wells – of Grace and Truth Church – says she plans to do whatever she can to help.
“We are not going to allow these people to terrorize us,” she said. “We will not allow that to happen in our community. We have come up out of the ashes and come a long way.”
Listen to her full interview with KDKA Radio’s Bill Rehkopf here: