McKeesport vigil draws somber crowd
Sky lanterns and candles lit up Riverview Street in McKeesport on Tuesday evening as friends and family gathered to remember two cousins.
Carlos Hudson, 41, and Jana Randolph, 49, of McKeesport died of gunshots to the head on Aug. 22, shortly before 9 p.m. They were found in a silver Toyota over a hillside along the 2300 block of Riverview Street.
About 50 people packed the top of the hill and prayed for an end to violence.
“It's amazing because you just don't know you have the friends until you really need them,” Randolph's father Albert Mockabee said. “You look around and see that there's more than one that's suffering as we have been suffering.”
Mockabee remembered his daughter as a caring person who loved to help people.
“She loved to work with people,” he said. “She was just (an outgoing) person. She was well-known, better than I. More people knew her than I thought. I loved her and I will miss her.”
Hudson proposed to Beth Derkas last year. They were together for 13 years. She helped to organize the candlelight vigil that included silver and purple balloons, two crosses covered in flowers, photographs of the victims and a lot of emotion.
“I feel comfort in this spot,” Derkas said, holding back tears. “I just lived for Carlos. Carlos was my everything. He showed me life. He was a great daddy, had seven kids, took care of all of them. They were always with him. I just take it day by day.”
The Rev. Earlene Coleman of Bethlehem Baptist Church in McKeesport spoke about taking action and not relying only on the police, mayor, council, churches or other authorities.
“It has to be all of us working together,” Coleman said. “I come back asking, ‘What's the community going to do?' The Bible says that if you know to do right, and you don't do it, it is sin ... We just might save a life if we'll speak up.”
Tim Stevens, chairman of the Black Political Empowerment Project and Coalition Against Violence organizer, spoke about other acts of violence and vigils.
“We don't need to see any more pictures, have any more candles, balloons, T-shirts, sweatshirts with our children pictured, our grandchildren,” Stevens said. “Unfortunately, it has become commonplace.”
Stevens said families must take responsibility for themselves and not benefit from illegal activity.
“We have to confront what we're facing, put values in our children's minds early,” Stevens said.
The Rev. Terry Johnson of the Salvation Army's McKeesport branch called for people to discard their weapons. He prayed before the balloon-and-lantern release.
“You're not a man toting a gun,” Johnson said. “I think that's less than a man. Value some life. Life, that's what it's about.”
Derkas and Mockabee urged the public to come forth with any information regarding the deaths of their loved ones.
“The criminal gets away with everything and the good people, they got to suffer,” Mockabee said. “People need to stop being afraid and speak up.”
“They know I'm at this site every day. They know I'm at the graveyard every day,” Derkas said. “Leave a note on a car, in my mailbox, anything.”
Anyone with information can contact Allegheny County police at 412-473-1300 or McKeesport police at 412-675-5050. Callers can 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.
- East Allegheny negotiator responds to proposal from striking teachers
- Homestead to celebrate one of its own at jazz festival
- McKeesport Area teacher fired amid sex scandal returns to school
- Electrical problem sparks fire in McKeesport truck
- Sex offender held for court in address registration case
- Flexible-use building in the works for Duquesne
- East Allegheny teachers to hit the picket lines
- Elizabeth Forward School District fosters high-tech culture
- Students’ use of iPads a minefield
- Golfers at Nemacolin Woodlands raise funds, awareness for Center for Victims
- East Allegheny teachers maintain strike plans