Waterfront shooting suspect surrenders

| Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, 4:51 a.m.

A Penn Hills teenager surrendered on Thursday afternoon in connection with a shooting on Wednesday night outside Steak ‘n Shake in the Munhall section of the Waterfront that left the victim dead.

Authorities said Jaron Young, 17, and his mother Ronnica Sanders walked into the office of Magisterial District Judge Scott Schricker in Turtle Creek around 1:30.

The teen could be charged with homicide, robbery, conspiracy and gun violations in relation to the death of Imani Porter, 20, of Point Breeze.

“It was the right thing to do,” Sanders, 41, said, hours after her son turned himself in. “I didn't raise my kid to be in the street. I didn't. I raised him to be a respectable young man in the community.”

Allegheny County police said they are still in search of at least one more suspect.

Detectives hope surveillance cameras positioned throughout The Waterfront will aid in the investigation, said Mike Manko, a spokesman for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.

Zappala announced plans for security cameras in late 2008 following homicides at two restaurants at the complex. In 2005, a man was shot inside the AMC Loews Waterfront movie theater and died less than an hour later.

The Waterfront spans Munhall, Homestead and West Homestead. Homestead police Chief Jeffrey DeSimone said violent crimes at the complex are rare. Retail theft is most common, he said.

“This place down here is a wonderful place to come and enjoy yourself, to do your shopping, grab a bit to eat, see a movie. It's not a problem area,” he said.

Management at The Waterfront did not return calls.

Investigators said packs of suspected heroin were found inside the car where Porter was shot at approximately 8:10 p.m.

According to a criminal complaint, police suspect Porter was shot during a heroin deal gone bad. Porter and two friends arranged to meet Young at the restaurant to sell him heroin. During the transaction, Young pointed a gun in the face of Porter's friend and said, “Let us get this one for free.”

The fourth man in the car pointed a gun in Porter's face, prompting him to say, “Go ahead bro, take it,” the complaint said.

Porter's friend heard one gunshot and saw that Porter had been shot in the head. Young and the other man fled the scene in a white Pontiac.

Porter was transported to UPMC Mercy Hospital, where he died early Thursday morning.

Sanders said police knocked on her door Thursday morning asking for her son, who was not home. Police told her they did not believe her son was the shooter. She did not know whether her son was involved with drugs. She does not think he went to Steak ‘n Shake to buy heroin.

“You have to have money to buy heroin. He didn't have no money,” she said.

Porter's father Jibril Abdulhafith, a chaplain at the Allegheny County Jail, said his son was a warm, generous person who went to grocery stores to help carry food out to people's cars. He knew his son had problems with drugs, including arrests for marijuana possession, but cautioned that court records do not tell a person's whole story.

“Imani had a forward vision,” said Abdulhafith, 66. “He was just trying to go forward and build a life.”

Porter graduated from Allderdice High School, attended Community College of Allegheny County and recently enrolled in Triangle Tech, his father said.

Porter was the younger uncle of 26-year-old rapper Wiz Khalifa, perhaps best known for the 2011 single “Black and Yellow.”

Khalifa posted on Twitter on Wednesday night that an uncle named Imani had been killed, although he made no direct reference to Pittsburgh or to details of the shooting.

“My uncle was younger and more level headed than all of us,” he Tweeted. “I would have never seen this happening in a million years.”

Khalifa's publicist said the rapper would have no further comment at this time.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call county police at 412-473-3000.

Tim Karan and Aaron Aupperlee are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Reach Karan at 412-664-9161 ext. 1970, or tkaran@tribweb.com. Reach Aupperlee at 412-320-7986 or aaupperlee@tribweb.com.

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