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More than 100 march against violence in Washington County

| Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, 3:20 p.m.
Tribune-Review
Lydia D'Alessandro, 65, of Washington, attends a community against violence rally at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington on Saturday, November 17, 2012. Recent violence in the community that includes three murders drew D'Alessandro, a lifelong resident of Washington, to the rally. 'This has to stop, it can't go on,' said D'Alessandro. 'It's so sad… why can't people share and love?' Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review

Tim McNerney's parents, Robert and Denise McNerney, have attended just about every Washington & Jefferson College football game since their son, a running back, was beaten to death last month during an attack by as many as six men.

“It appears that it was a pretty random act of violence,” said his mother, Denise McNerney, of Penn Township, Butler County.

Residents of Washington, along with students and staff from Washington & Jefferson College, marched against violence on Saturday.

Washington, home to 13,600 residents, has had three homicides this year, which Brenda Davis, the city's mayor attributes to an uptick of gang- and drug-related violence.

“We need to stand up and not tolerate this kind of violence. There have been shootings on playgrounds and city streets in Washington,” Davis said.

There have also been several robberies of pharmacies this year, she said.

McNerney, 21, and Zach DeCiccio, 22, of Jefferson Hills were walking home from a tavern in downtown Washington about 2:30 a.m., police said. McNerney died in an attack at the corner of South College Avenue and East Maiden Street. There have been no arrests.

“It was the boys on the team who found him dead on the street. That was difficult,” said Denise McNerney.

On Oct. 18, Vaughn Simonelli, 55, of Chartiers was shot to death in the parking lot of a Shop 'n Save. Brandon Thomas, 30, of Upper St. Clair is charged in the shooting. Witnesses told police the two had been arguing.

On May 24, Rensfield Jarvis, 23, of Washington was shot and killed outside of a Washington bar. Henry Dion Williams, 29, of the North Side is charged in the shooting.

McNerney's death has been difficult for staff and students at the small college, especially on members of the football team, said Tori Haring-Smith, the school's president.

“What's important is that we make his life count. There is the sense is that enough is enough. The march demonstrates the importance of the college and the town working together on issues of common concern,” she said.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at rwills@tribweb.com.

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