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Man fatally shot in Penn Hills after grocery store encounter

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By Bobby Kerlik
Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, 7:12 a.m.

A man who had just bought lettuce at a Penn Hills Giant Eagle and had words with a man inside the supermarket on Thursday night was shot to death minutes later less than two miles away, police said.

Jamar Hawkins, 31, stopped to pick up ingredients for a salad at the store on Rodi Road when he saw a man he didn't get along with, Hawkins' mother said. The other man was staring her son down, she said.

“Jamar asked him if he had a problem and then they left,” Wynona Hawkins-Harper, 49, of Penn Hills said. “Next thing (Jamar) knows, they drive up on the side of him in a white SUV and start shooting. It's sickening. These people have no respect for self, no respect for human life.”

Allegheny County police said Hawkins was shot about 10:15 p.m. at the intersection of Saltsburg and Leechburg Roads. His girlfriend and brother were in the car but were not hit. Hawkins' girlfriend drove to UPMC East in Monroeville, where Hawkins died.

Hawkins-Harper said she plans to organize a community meeting and invite politicians to discuss violence in west Penn Hills — after she buries her son.

“Two black families are being destroyed by stupidity,” she said. “I'm looking forward to helping stop the crime among African-American males in this part of Penn Hills. These politicians need to stop sitting behind their desks and do something.”

Hawkins, who worked for a cleaning business owned by his family, leaves behind three daughters, ages 4, 5 and 7.

Police said anyone who witnessed the shooting or the grocery store confrontation should call Allegheny County police at 412-473-1300.

Police have not identified any suspects, but Hawkins' mother said he told others who the shooter was before he died.

Patrick Varine contributed to this report. Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or

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