Share This Page

Man killed, woman injured in McKeesport shooting

| Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 8:48 a.m.
James Knox
Darlene Cook (right), mother of shooting victim Brian Cook, embraces her friend Deborah Leggett on the street near where police were on the scene of a fatal home invasion in the 2600 block of Versailles Avenue in McKeesport on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Leggett's son John was best friends with the victim.
James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Allegheny County and McKeesport police were on the scene of a fatal home invasion in the 2600 block of Versailes Avenue in McKeesport on Wednesday, June 26, 2013.
James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Revuew
Allegheny County and McKeesport police were on the scene of a fatal home invasion in the 2600 block of Versailes Avenue in McKeesport on Wednesday, June 26, 2013.
James Knox
John Leggett, 23, weeps on a step near where Allegheny County and McKeesport police were on the scene of a fatal home invasion in the 2600 block of Versailes Avenue in McKeesport on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Leggett was the best friend of the victim.
James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
A man removes a pit bull as Allegheny County and McKeesport police were on the scene of a fatal home invasion in the 2600 block of Versailes Avenue in McKeesport on Wednesday, June 26, 2013.
James Knox
Deborah Leggett consoles her son John Leggett, 23, near where Allegheny County and McKeesport police were on the scene of a fatal home invasion in the 2600 block of Versailes Avenue in McKeesport on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Leggett was the best friend of the victim.
James Knox
Brian Cook, the alleged victim of a fatal home invasion in the 2600 block of Versailes Avenue in McKeesport Wednesday June 26, 2013.

A father of two is dead, his girlfriend is recovering from a gunshot, and their family and friends in McKeesport are struggling to understand the city's worsening violence.

“He was a very good father,” Melissa McPherson, 19, said of her brother Brian Cook. “He was home all the time with his son.”

McKeesport police were responding to a reported home invasion in the 2600 block of Versailles Avenue about 5:40 a.m. Wednesday when they found a man's body upstairs and a woman with a gunshot wound to the hand, Capt. Tim Hanna said. McPherson and her mother, Darlene Cook, identified the man as Brian Cook, 24, and the woman as his girlfriend, Stephanie Pavlovic.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office said Cook died of a gunshot to the head.

“He was my baby,” said Darlene Cook, 52, of McKeesport. “He was my only boy. I'm in shock.”

Hanna said it did not appear that anything was taken from the home. He referred further questions to Allegheny County police, who are investigating.

Isaiah Long, 61, who lives nearby, said he heard a woman screaming just before 6 a.m.

“I heard someone saying, ‘Don't kill me, don't kill me,' ” Long said. “I heard the shots.”

Long said he has noticed 25 to 30 people coming and going from the house on a daily basis. He moved back to McKeesport in 2009 after living in California and said he's upset with crime in the city.

“I thought California was bad. California can't touch McKeesport,” Long said.

John Leggett, who said Brian Cook was his best friend, described him as a devoted father who spent his time caring for his 1-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter. He said Cook was known to host cookouts where anyone could stop by and get a plate of food.

“I am so lost right now,” Leggett said.

Leggett's mother, Deborah Leggett, called on McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko to take action to reduce violence in the city. Cherepko did not return a message.

There have been five homicides this year in McKeesport, a city of nearly 20,000, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office. Two killings occurred in the city during the same span a year ago, records show.

“What is the mayor doing?” Deborah Leggett, 48, of Mc-Keesport asked. “This is a young man killed yet again in McKeesport.”

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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.