PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Less than 24 hours after the Wilkinsburg mass shooting, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the gunmen involved in the Wednesday night massacre.
The murder victims are identified as Chanetta and Brittany Powell, Shada Mahone, and Jerry and Tina Shelton. Officials say Chanetta was eight months pregnant and her unborn baby could not be saved.
Two men remain in critical condition at a local hospital, while another woman was treated and released from Forbes Regional Hospital.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said late on Thursday, “This is something no community wants to deal with, no community wants to face. It’s a sad, sad day for us in this region.”
UNCUT VIDEO: News Conference With County Officials:
During a press conference Thursday afternoon, Allegheny County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said two weapons were used in the shooting – an AK-47 and a .40-caliber handgun.
Police say one suspect, armed with the handgun, approached the backyard barbecue on Franklin Avenue from one direction and started shooting.
Then, as the approximately 15 people at the party tried to run inside the home, the second gunman walked up to the crime scene from a small alley on the other side of the house. That suspect began shooting with an AK-47-style rifle. A total of 49 shell casings were recovered.
Timeline Of The Shooting:
“We don’t have any firm suspects. In other words, we don’t have enough at this time to make any arrests,” Moffatt said.
Moffatt also said the two murder weapons have not been recovered.
“You have an unsolved case, everybody’s a person of interest,” said Moffatt. “So I don’t like to focus in, but there’s some that there’s more interest in than others. We can say that.”
Earlier in the day, District Attorney Stephen Zappala described the tragic event as an “ambush.”
“The murders were planned. They were calculated, brutal. We haven’t seen something like this in quite some time,” said Zappala.
Multiple law enforcement sources now say the intended target of the gunmen may have been Lamont Powell, one of two men still hospitalized with gunshot wounds from the shooting spree.
KDKA’s Marty Griffin Reports:
Sources say they are looking at the possibility the two gunmen were sent to Wilkinsburg to carry out what’s being described as an alleged “revenge killing.”
Powell was allegedly involved in a shooting in Pittsburgh a couple of years ago but was never charged. The shooting rampage, sources said, might have been in retaliation for that incident.
However, Powell’s mom says there is no way her son could have been involved in a homicide, and she has no idea why anyone would target him.
A $20,000 reward is now being offered for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-ATF-GUNS.
KDKA’s Paul Martino Reports:
Earlier in the day on Thursday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf also commented on the tragedy during a visit to Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services is now offering 24-hour crisis support and assistance to the community in the wake of the devastating shooting. They have also reached out to the Wilkinsburg School District.
“This is obviously a very, very tough day for this community, for this region, and certainly for the people of Wilkinsburg and certainly for the families,” said Fitzgerald. “We’ve been very fortunate that we’ve been joined with a lot of help from folks around the region, folks with the federal government, the ATF, local law enforcement, Wilkinsburg, the county, all pitching in.”
Fitzgerald joined the “KDKA Morning News” and said that he is “confident” that the suspects will be apprehended.
“When things like this happen, it shatters a confidence that makes it very difficult for us to move on…so this is a really important thing that we make sure people feel safe and this isn’t something that can happen randomly,” Fitzgerald said.
Anyone in the community in need of support can contact:
Center for Victims
24-Hour Crisis Hotline
re:solve Crisis Network
24 Hour Crisis Hotline