The Crime

On the warm, fair night of Wednesday March 9, 2016, two gunmen shot to death five people at a backyard cookout at 1304 Franklin Ave., Wilkinsburg. One of the victims was eight months pregnant. Another was paralyzed from the waist down and died in 2020 of complications. Another two people were wounded.

One shooter fired from an alley with a handgun, driving people toward the back door of the house, police said. The other shooter fired from the side with an assault-style rifle. A total of 48 shots were fired, police said.

The Latest




Jerry Michael Shelton, 35, brother of wounded victim Lamont Powell

Brittany Powell, 27, sister of Lamont Powell

Chanetta Powell, 25, sister of Lamont Powell; was 8 months pregnant

Tina Shelton, 37, cousin of Lamont Powell and the victims above

Shada Mahone, 26, cousin of Lamont Powell and the victims above

John Ellis, paralyzed from the waist down; died in 2020 from complications.


Lamont Powell, initially in critical condition
Another victim was treated and released.


Cheron Shelton (no relation to the victims)

Robert Thomas

Alleged Motive

Police suspect that Cheron Shelton sought vengeance for the 2013 shooting death of his best friend, Calvin Doswell, in Lincoln-Lemington. Lamont Powell was a suspect in that homicide, but was not charged. The case is unsolved.

Key figures


Deputy District Attorney Kevin Chernosky

Assistant District Attorney Lisa Pellegrini


Randall McKinney for Cheron Shelton

Wendy Williams for Cheron Shelton

Casey White for Robert Thomas

Michael Machen for Robert Thomas


Edward J. Borkowski

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