McKeesport benefit raises money as parents seek answers in son's January death
Ten months after 36-year-old Ronald G. “Ronnie” Long died, his parents want answers.
Mike and Candy Long hope the efforts of Porky Chedwick and other Pittsburgh oldies disc jockeys — in the form of the “Justice for Ronnie Long” benefit dance Sunday at 2 p.m. at McKeesport's Palisades — will raise money to “loosen some tongues.”
“Everyone assumed he tried to get home and hit his head,” Candy Long said Monday in the lot along the 300 block of Glenn Avenue Extension in Port Vue, where her son was found Jan. 1 around 8:30 a.m.
“They found him, face down,” Mike Long said, pointing to traces of what, even 10 months later, may be blood.
The couple said they heard one set of stories by people who later changed them for Allegheny County detectives.
A letter from “a friend” to the Longs said two men beat their son at the former Big Shot bar in Liberty. The letter said one assailant and his son dropped the victim off — all after Ronnie Long called his parents.
“He called us at 12:08,” Mike Long said. “He called to tell us ‘Happy New Year.'”
“He told me he was leaving,” Candy Long said. “They wouldn't let him leave.”
Ronnie Long was pronounced dead on Jan. 2 at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital.
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office said Long died of blunt force trauma to the head. The manner was undetermined, pending an investigation.
“It is still an open investigation,” county police homicide Lt. Andrew Schurman said. “There is not much more we can release at this time.”
Those with information about Long's death can call county police at 412-473-1300.
Since January, the bar was sold. County real estate records said it sold for $40,000.
The Longs host a “Magic Music” program weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on WEDO-810. Chedwick, who these days does a weekly show on one of Terry Lee's Internet stations, is listed as a “special guest.”
“We are going to be there,” Jeanie Chedwick confirmed via Facebook. “(We're) not sure if Porky is spinning records. He was not asked (to do so) but we will be there.”
“Jeanie said, ‘We will do what we can for you,'” Candy Long said.
“He called us first and said ‘I'm in,'” Mike Long said.
Deejays who are scheduled Sunday include Big Ed the Music Man, JD the DJ, Uncle Billy Stettmier, Caveman Ralph, Jimmy Haas, Dink McCann, DJ Babe O'Donnell, Charlie Erb and Rich Antoncic.
“They're not charging (admission),” said Palisades manager Mike Joyce. “They're asking for donations at the door. We're donating the hall to them. We are trying to help them out as much as we can.”
Like his parents, Ronnie Long was a disc jockey.
He was kitchen co-manager at American Legion Post 939 in Versailles and a volunteer firefighter in Elizabeth Township.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.