Killers at Party Teamed Up to Trap Victims

'They funneled them onto the porch and then just lit them up'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2016 6:25 AM CST
Updated Mar 11, 2016 6:30 AM CST
Killers at Party Teamed Up to Trap Victims
Allegheny County detectives look over the scene of a shooting in Wilkinsburg, Pa.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

The death toll has risen to six after a horrifying "ambush" at a family cookout in suburban Pittsburgh Wednesday. Police say one of the victims was 8 months pregnant and the death of her unborn child has been ruled a homicide, reports WPXI. As for the other victims, they "never had a chance," reports the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Officials say two shooters approached a home from a back alley before 11pm and found a group in the backyard, celebrating the fine weather. One shooter fired a handgun into their midst while the second, armed with an assault rifle, was positioned behind a fence near a back porch and gunned down those attempting to find safety inside, police say. "They funneled them onto the porch and then just lit them up," says an ATF agent. "It was like a military [operation], like when I was in the Marines." The body of the first victim, a man, blocked the back door so others became easy targets.

The victims are identified as siblings Jerry Shelton, 35; Brittany Powell, 27; and Chanetta Powell, 25, who was pregnant; and their cousins Tina Shelton, 37, and Shada Mahone, 26. The mother of the siblings—who has a fourth child who was also injured—says all five adult victims had children, some of whom were at the home but unharmed. Police say they have "no firm suspects" but "we have some names that we're working on." Police add 49 shots were fired in all—one victim had 50 entry and exit wounds—with bullets going through several people in close proximity. An Allegheny County district attorney calls it a "planned, calculated and brutal" shooting and the worst crime he's seen in 18 years as DA, per CBS Pittsburgh. He believes one or two of those shot were targeted. "The rest of the people would be fairly characterized as innocent." (More Pennsylvania stories.)

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