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McKeesport mayor urges shooting witnesses to come forward

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By Jennifer R. Vertullo
Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, 12:36 p.m.

As Allegheny County detectives investigate a fatal shooting in a McKeesport bar, local officials are asking the public to take a stand by speaking out against violence.

Jayemond Bailey, 34, of McKeesport, suffered multiple gunshot wounds Friday at approximately 1 a.m. while inside Street Stars Bar & Grill, 316 Sixth St. Bailey was transported to UPMC McKeesport, where he died.

Allegheny County Homicide Lt. Andrew Schurman said the motive for the shooting was “unclear” and authorities are analyzing surveillance video from inside the bar.

Schurman said at least 20 people were in the bar at the time of the shooting, which prompted city officials to ask why detectives are forced to be dependent on video surveillance.

“Once again we have a homicide with several witnesses in the establishment at the time of the shooting,” McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said. “And as of this time, I don't know of anyone who is cooperating with the police.”

City police feel strongly that if witnesses would step forward many of the acts of violence McKeesport has experienced would be resolved, Cherepko said.

“We believe there were witnesses to this crime,” McKeesport police Chief Bryan J. Washowich said. “We encourage them to do the right thing and contact the police.”

Anyone with information regarding Friday's shooting is asked to contact McKeesport or Allegheny County police.

In a community where officials are trying to curb crime and violence through increased police presence as well as community initiatives, Cherepko said the public also has a responsibility.

“When we don't step up as good citizens, for whatever the reason may be, we are enabling the problem,” the mayor said. “I understand that people are fearful, but what are you more afraid of — turning someone in or continuing to live like this?”

McKeesport's Message Committee will host a rally Wednesday at 4 p.m. outside city hall, 500 Fifth Ave., to kick off a city-wide campaign to emphasize respect in an effort to re-establish pride in McKeesport and dissolve the culture of violence.

“We can't do that overnight, but it's what we all need to work toward,” Cherepko said.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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