Community working to channel grief into action after Oliver Citywide student shot, killed

PITTSBURGH — The community is working to channel grief into action after a 15-year-old boy was gunned down in front of Oliver Citywide Academy on Wednesday.

Tenth-grade Eden Christian Academy student Gabby Cherry is calling for action.

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“This community, they have to do something to really step up,” said Cherry.

Cherry said many times, she doesn’t feel safe when she goes to school.

“A lot of kids die a lot, all the time and it’s really devastating because imagine being a parent and your kids are dying,” she said. “It’s horrible.”

The 15-year-old is the same age as the Oliver Citywide Academy teen who was shot and killed Wednesday morning.

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That senseless shooting and the seemingly endless gun violence prompted Cherry to come to Mayor Ed Gainey’s event in the Marshall-Shadeland neighborhood.

The mayor’s new initiative, ‘City in the Streets,’ is meant to build trust in the community, ultimately cracking down on crime. Gainey said, however, that can’t happen unless parents, schools, community members, and others pitch in to keep kids off the streets and out of trouble.

“We claim our children,” Gainey said. “We claim them. Let’s do everything we got to do to work to save our kids.”

Shayla Holmes is the peace summit coordinator for Coalition Against Violence (CAV). She believes mental health needs to be front and center.

“Really focus on positive, positive reinforcement. Conflict resolution without picking up a gun, because there are things that are possible that can be done without leading to violence,” Holmes said.

Cherry, meantime, is hopeful the message will get through.

“It really needs to stop because imagine being a mother,” she said. “That really hurts.”

Pittsburgh Police Chief Larry Scirotto told Channel 11 News that following the deadly shooting, more officers will be patrolling the Marshall-Shadeland neighborhood over the next couple of days.

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