WILKINSBURG (KDKA) – Vernes Pugh says he can hardly believe that his daughter was one of the victims killed in a mass shooting Wednesday night in Wilkinsburg.
“I was calling my daughter to see if [she] heard about it and come to find out, she was the victim. It hurts and I feel terrible, I feel terrible. It hadn’t really hit me yet. But, it’s going to hit me, it’s going to hit me hard,” Pugh said.
While police were searching for evidence at the scene, Pugh said he was having difficulty finding his daughter, Tina Shelton.
“I was coming here to see if she was in here and then I went to Presby, get no answers. Then, I figured I’d go to the morgue. I went down to the morgue and that’s when I identified her,” Pugh said.
Pugh says Shelton, his first born, was a mother of five. He picked her up from work Wednesday evening.
Shelton is one of five people killed in the shooting that District Attorney Stephen Zappala called, “an ambush.”
The other victims have been identified as:
- Jerry Shelton, 35
- Brittany Powell, 27
- Chanetta Powell, 25
- Shada Mahone, 26
According to the Medical Examiner, Jerry Shelton, Brittany Powell and Chanetta Powell are siblings. Jerry Shelton and Tina Shelton are cousins.
Chanetta was eight months pregnant with a son and was due on May 23. She also had an 8-month-old baby and a 6-year-old son. Jerry was a father to two children, and Shada had one daughter.
This afternoon, family members held a press conference to talk about the tragic event.
“All of them, they would light up a room. They loved to laugh and joke and have fun,” Jessica Shelton said. “For these shooters out there that [are] taking these innocent lives, you just didn’t take innocent lives. You made children lose their parents.”
Shelton lost three children and two nieces in the shooting. She had been at the family barbecue at her daughter Brittney’s home just two hours before the shooting happened.
“Right now, I have no choice but to be strong because I’ve got grandkids that lost their parents that I have to be strong for,” Shelton said. “But, I know with the support of my family and friends, we’re going to make it through this. With the prayers, we’re going to make it through it.”
Teary-eyed and in disbelief, Shelton can’t understand why this happened.
“It doesn’t make no sense to take people’s lives like that. You know, you have a choice. You know, you don’t have to just go out, make people lose family like, children lose their parents,” Shelton said. “Just prayers, I need everybody’s prayers out there. You know, my family needs your prayers.”
Victims Remembered At Vigil:
Shelton also has a 24-year-old son, Lamont Powell, in critical condition. She says he was shot in the neck, back, chest and hand.
John Ellis, who is not related to the family, remains at UPMC Mercy Hospital in critical condition. A woman, who was also shot, was treated and released this morning from another hospital.
Lighthouse Cathedral Pastor Maurice Trent said the Shelton-Powell Memorial Fund has been set up at Citizens Bank.
“Somebody knows who did this,” said Rev. Maurice Trent, of the Lighthouse Cathedral. “You can give to the Shelton-Powell Memorial Fund set up at Citizens Bank. They are facing a huge financial burden of having to bury so many at one time; open your hearts and show this family some love.”