Grieving McKeesporters question council's proposed limit on memorials
A mother whose son was a victim of a fatal shooting questioned McKeesport council about a proposed ordinance that would put a 14-day limit on temporary memorials.
“How can you put a limit on somebody's grief?” Mae Hudson said at Wednesday's council meeting.
“There is no limit on grief,” council president Darryl Segina replied. “You would grieve privately after that. This is a very sensitive issue for us.”
The woman's 41-year-old son Carlos Hudson and his cousin Jana Randolph, 49, both of McKeesport, were killed when they were shot in the head on Riverview Street on Aug. 22 around 10:13 p.m..
Allegheny County Medical Examiner's ruled it a homicide. The case remains under investigation.
At its Tuesday workshop, council discussed setting time limits on makeshift memorials for victims of accidents or violence.
Mayor Michael Cherepko said the conversation started when the city received complaints from residents about the long time that some memorials are allowed to stand.
Cherepko has repeatedly said that council is trying to be respectful to grieving families while sympathizing with those who do not want to see constant reminders of tragedies in the city.
“Everyone grieves in different lengths, different ways,” Cherepko said. “I think what (council is) trying to do is pay respect to your lost loved ones by allowing these corners, these streets, these sidewalks to have things placed on them for two weeks.”
The proposed ordinance will not require permits for memorials, and no fines will be assessed for surpassing the 14-day limit.
Public works personnel or other city crews can remove memorials that exceed the limit, and ones that reappear within the same calender year.
Segina said the proposed ordinance is not yet law, and adjustments can be made.
“We have it in rough draft form right now,” he said.
Council plans to adopt it at the Nov. 6 meeting.
Councilwoman V. Fawn Walker-Montgomery suggested the limit be extended from from seven to 14 days.
She said Carlos Hudson is her cousin, and noted that other relatives have been victims of violent crimes.
“I see both sides of it,” Walker-Montgomery said. “They brought up about when people ride through the city, there are so many (memorials).
“But there are so many of them because the reality is there are so many murders. So the more important issue is, what can we do about the murders?”
Mae Hudson said the memorials often are the victims' families' only solace.
“We feel that that's all that we have,” she said. “People just feel that nothing is being solved. There are no murderers being convicted of anything.”
Cherepko said detectives take cases very seriously, but have a hard time gathering enough evidence to make an arrest because so few people are willing to come forward with information.
“For the most part, if you don't find a murder weapon, if you don't have someone to testify against someone, you can't even get a warrant,” the mayor said. “That's the reality of what you're faced with.”
Hudson did not raise her voice or argue with city officials, and they took notice of her composure.
“I applaud you for coming in here so calm and just laying it out there and handling yourself the way you are,” Cherepko said to Hudson.
A public meeting about the proposed ordinance will be convened before the Nov. 5 workshop. No official time has been set.
Hudson had a message for her son's and his cousin's killer.
“You were wrong for even thinking about killing somebody or setting them up to be killed,” she said. “You were wrong for taking somebody's life for whatever reason. It wasn't God's reason. Who gave you the right? There (were) two people that you killed and you destroyed their family, their kids and their grandkids. What were you thinking?”
Walker-Montgomery said anyone with information about murders in the city can contact McKeesport police at 412-675-5015 or county police Homicide Unit at 412-473-1300. Callers may remain anonymous.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1965., or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McKeesport property deemed ripe for development
- Damaged Marina at McKees Point still slated to open in May
- Mon Valley schools honored for commitment to music education
- Washington County sex offender gets 25 to 50 years in plea deal with Mon Valley victims
- Clairton police present interactive seminar on use of force
- Duquesne man charged with sex assault of minor
- East Allegheny may consider contract with new transporter
- Glassport fire department gets OK to buy new truck
- McKeesport teacher among winners at Champions of Learning awards dinner
- Mon-Yough area first responders say drivers need to stop, pull over
- Responsibility for sinkhole near Glassport remains uncertain