‘Still Seems Surreal’: Wilkinsburg Mass Shooting Remembered One Year Later

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — For those who witnessed the Wilkinsburg mass shooting, the mental scar is far from healed.

“I was sitting in the dining room and it basically just sounded like a storm of bullets, of shots,” neighbor Byron Ross said.

That storm would end the lives of five young people and an unborn baby. Ross was a friend of Brittany Powell.

“Honestly, it still seems surreal,” he said.

Three of the dead were siblings and their mother, Jessica Shelton, sent a message Thursday through her pastor:

“I want the people to know I want to thank them for their prayers, their support, their gifts and for all the love they have shown during this time of my grief.”

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It is a mountain of grief, born out of losing multiple children in a horrific way.

“She’s a strong woman and she understands that she has to be there for her grandchildren, so you know she presses her way,” Lighthouse Church Pastor Maurice Trent said.

Those who knew the victims said there is still a cloud that hangs over the neighborhood.

“Today, we are celebrating the community as being resilient, you know that the lives that were lost, as tragic as it was, we don’t want them to be forgotten,” Mad Dads of Greater Pittsburgh representative Ernest Bey said.

A vigil was held Thursday evening in the very backyard where the shooting occurred.

About 50 people listened as bell was rung for each of the victims.

“God, I would just pray that you heal them from the memories of what they’ve gone through,” Trent said.

While many of the victims’ relatives could not bear to come, one victim’s aunt was in attendance.

“It helped me, because everybody’s here and they showed up. I just hope it does something as far as to stop all this shooting,” Jesse Trice said.

The two men charged in the mass murder, Cheron Shelton and Robert Thomas, remain in the Allegheny County Jail awaiting trial.

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