Father of Wilkinsburg shooting victim says he knows men charged with daughter's death

WILKINSBURG, Pa. — The father of one of the women who lost her life in the Wilkinsburg mass shooting in March said he’s relieved two arrests have been made, but said it’s hard knowing he watched the two suspects grow up.

“I knew them. I never thought they do nothing like this,” Vernes Pugh, Tina Shelton’s father, said.

Tina Shelton, 37, and four others -- Jerry Shelton, 35; Tina Shelton, 37; Brittany Powell, 27; Shada Mahone, 26; and Chanetta Powell, a 25-year-old who was eight months pregnant -- were killed in the ambush in the backyard of a home on Franklin Avenue on March 9. Powell's unborn child also died.%



“It’s (a) cowardly act to shoot innocent women,” Pugh said.

Police said the alleged gunmen, Cheron Shelton, 29, and Robert Thomas, 27, didn’t care who was hit. Cheron Shelton is not related to Jerry or Tina Shelton.

Tina Shelton’s father said he wished the gunmen had cared about who they shot so he could still see his daughter every day.

“I picked her up every day, took her to work (and) had lunch (with her) every day. They took that away from me. They took a lot away from me,” he said.

Now, Pugh picks up Tina Shelton’s daughter, one of her five children whom she left behind, and takes her to work.

“Sometimes she gets in the car, and I’ll be like, ‘You act just like your mom,’” Pugh said.

Pugh told Channel 11 News he watched the district attorney discuss the case Thursday and was relieved, but one thing went through his mind.

“It’s about time something is being done,” he said.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala hasn’t taken the death penalty off the table.

“Whatever they get, it won’t bring my daughter back,” Pugh said.

The father of Jerry Shelton also spoke with Channel 11 News briefly Thursday, saying he’s still trying to wrap his head around everything Zappala said about the shooting.

Cheron Shelton Thomas are both charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, criminal conspiracy and attempted homicide.