PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – “When I got the call early in the morning, it was devastating. It was devastating for so many reasons, because the first one said she was dead.”

That call came just after 2 a.m on the morning of Jan. 22. State representative Ed Gainey’s phone rang in the middle of the night, with the crushing news that his sister, 29-year-old Janese Jackson Talton, had been shot and killed outside a bar in Homewood.

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“Going there, it becomes real. You’re seeing it live. You’re seeing your sister on the ground. You’re seeing it live and direct, and one of the most difficult memories for me was when they put her in the blue bag,” Gainey said.

Janese Jackson Talton was a mother of three young children. She had a year left to go in college, and was by all accounts, happy.

Police say she rebuffed Charles McKinney in the bar, and he reportedly followed her outside and shot her. But for Ed Gainey, who has been there for so many other families, this time it was his, and that made it different.

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“The story was her. Her name is Janese and it was all about Janese, my sister, when it happened to her. Not Ed Gainey the politician. Ed Gainey the brother,” he said.

McKinney was held for trial at a preliminary hearing on thursday. Gainey’s family is like so many others before them, struggling with emotions.

“For me, my number one thing is simple. I can’t let this thing make me bitter. I can’t let the anger make me not care, not do the things I know need to be done,” Gainey explained. “The pain is real. The anger is real and that’s what I mean by I can’t let it make me bitter. I have to let it make me better at all I do.”

Gainey says his goal now is to build an honor for his sister. See that kids get everything the need and using what happened for over all good.

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“For me its about honoring her in everything that I do in my daily life, then I know that this thing of death won’t make me bitter,” he said.

Lynne Hayes-Freeland