PITTSBURGH — Funeral services took place Monday afternoon for the first of six victims gunned down in an ambush at a cookout in Wilkinsburg last week.
Funeral visitation was held for 26-year-old Shada Mahone at Watts Memorial Chapel in Braddock, followed by her funeral at nearby Unity Baptist Church.
The pastor of the church delivered a message of hope and peace to his mourning congregation and community during Mahone's funeral.
"We are trying to give a message of hope to the family. Not a message of vengeance. Not a message of retaliation," the Rev. Richard Wingfield said.
He told Channel 11 News that Mahone, the mother of a 5-year-old daughter, grew up in his church and was baptized there.
"My memories of her is her smile. She had a very, very beautiful smile. I watched her grow up. She was always happy. Never seen her down," Wingfield said.
As for Mahone's daughter, Wingfield said family members are already stepping up to help care for her.
"They will all put their arms around the baby. There was some concern on how they would address it with the child," he said. "They will be supporting her all the way, from grandparents to great-grandparents."
No arrests have been made in connection to the mass shooting.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told Channel 11 News that they received several calls and emails over the weekend, but nothing that directly identified the shooters.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto offered his condolences via Facebook Monday and asked that people do not retaliate.
"There is no way to bring reason to this, nor are thoughts and prayers enough to solve the violence in our communities," Peduto's post said, in part.
It went on to say, "Today also marks when retaliatory crimes usually begin. We must not let this happen. We must stop this violence - we owe it to the families, we owe it to the victims, we owe it to their children."
Peduto also shared an email message from the city's Zone 5 Police Cmdr. Jason Lando that urged residents to remain vigilant, and advised that there will be an increased police presence in neighborhoods, specifically Homewood. Lando indicated that Homewood has ties to some of those involved in last week's shooting.
"Please understand it is not our intention to cast a wide net over the entire community, but rather to specifically focus on those who are committing criminal acts and making the streets dangerous for the decent, law-abiding citizens like yourselves," Lando's email said, in part.
Two community events were held Saturday in the aftermath of the shooting that claimed the lives of five adults and an unborn baby, and the message was clear.
"I think we're all tired of our young ones dying and I think it's up to us to do something about it," said Michael Walker, the father of victim Jerry Shelton.
Walker said when he grew up in the Hill District, there were community programs in place for children to keep them away from violence. But now, "these kids have nowhere to go, no one to look up to," he said.
"That whole saying that it takes a village to raise a child, that still resonates in my heart but I don't see that," Walker said.
A group called the Community Empowerment Association hosted an emergency town hall meeting Saturday in hopes of shedding more light on the importance of curbing gun violence in the area.
Rep. Mike Doyle attended the event and said the best way people can show support for the family is to "commit ourselves to finding a solution" to the violence. Doyle also had strong words for the type of assault rifle used during the shooting.
"Any weapon that you can put a clip on and shoot 50 bullets without reloading has no place in a civil society," the congressman said. "That's a military weapon."
If anyone would like to help the families of the victims, a memorial fund has been established in their name.
Donations can be made to the Shelton-Powell Memorial Fund at any Citizens Bank branch. A GoFundMe page has also been created.
Cox Media Group