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Slaying of 'good kid' in Pittsburgh's Allentown neighborhood angers Brashear High School teacher

Deondre Pace, 16, was fatally shot on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, in the city's Allentown neighborhood.

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Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

A teenager who was fatally shot on Thursday evening on a street corner in the city's Allentown neighborhood was a “good kid” focused on learning, his friends and relatives said.

Police officers found Deondre Pace, 16, on the ground at Beltzhoover Avenue and Climax Street with a gunshot in the chest about 7:15 p.m. He was pronounced dead at UPMC Mercy hospital, Uptown.

Homicide detectives do not yet have a motive for the shooting, and no arrests have been made.

“I heard there was a shooting in the neighborhood, but didn't think much about it because it happens a lot up here,” said Brashear High School teacher Tom Hurt, who lives a few blocks away from Pace in Allentown. “But when I learned Deondre had been killed, I was just so angry. I just couldn't believe it.”

Pace, a sophomore at Brashear, studied in the life skills program Hurt teaches, which is aimed at helping students with physical and mental disabilities or behavior problems.

“Deondre was a good kid — very focu sed on learning. He loved anything to do with animals,” said Hurt, 57, adding that he regularly spoke with Pace outside of school.

“Deondre asked to come to my house on Wednesday to talk about some issues he was dealing with, but he never showed up. We were planning to try to get together on Thursday, but he was killed before that could happen,” Hurt said. “It's just so sens eless tha t he had to die this way.”

Pace's family and friends set up a makeshift memorial with candles and stuffed animals on the sidewalk where he was killed.

Pace's aunt, Antoinette White, believes her nephew knew the person who shot him.

“He was a good kid, not the kind who went looking for trouble,” White said. “And he wasn't the type of person who judged or stereotyped people. Unfortunately, because of that, I don't think he realized that you pick and choose your friends, and it's sad that the friends you chose are sometimes the bad ones.”

Tony LaRussa is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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