Woman found fatally shot in McKeesport late Monday night
By Michael DiVittorio
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, 8:39 a.m.
Family and friends of a pregnant McKeesport woman who was fatally shot along McCleary Street gathered near the scene Tuesday evening to mourn and pray for justice.
Susan Sidney, 25, was killed just after 11 p.m. on Monday near the intersection with Freeland Street.
She was taken to UPMC McKeesport, where she was pronounced dead, according to police.
Her aunt, Arlene Bates, organized Tuesday's 7 p.m. candlelight vigil.
Ministers called for an end to the violence.
A makeshift memorial filled with flowers, stuffed animals, candles, a card and balloons was placed at a nearby bus stop.
Those at the vigil repeatedly spoke of Sidney's love for her children.
“She was very happy with life for 25 years,” her father Kirk Sidney said. “That's what we're here to praise. This crowd is here because they could see that spark and that light, and it's unfortunate to extinguish it.”
“Susan was a good girl,” Bates said. “Her decision was to, in the future, attend school. She was getting ready to get married to Richard.”
Sidney's fiancé Richard Moses Campbell said he warned her about walking to the store late at night.
“She was on her way to get cigarettes and come back home. I told her not to go,” Campbell said. “It was too cold, and I had a feeling. I had a vibe. I didn't even want to go to the store myself or send her out there. She decided to go. I didn't want her to go.”
Campbell said his fiance was six months pregnant with her sixth child. He found her body when he went looking for her.
“I heard shots fired and I ran outside. Something told me she was shot,” Campbell said. “She was a beautiful woman.”
Bates said Sidney's children, ages 2 to 6, are with their grandmother and do not know what happened to their mother.
About 40 people endured the elements to show their support, some with frozen tears.
“It really helps out a lot,” Campbell said.
“We've been together all around the clock, all of us,” Bates said.
“This is very uplifting,” Kirk Sidney said. “It's not just the family here. There are other friends here. They showed the love that's here for the young lady. Everybody has a strength to deal and better themself, and make their life happy. That touch of life and spark that she had would give you that spark when you're down.
“She would be the one to pick you up and bring you to that different level.”
Police said Sidney was walking with a man when she was shot.
“At this point in the investigation we do not believe the victim was the intended target, but rather the young man she was with. No clear motive has been established,” Allegheny County police Lt. Andrew Schurman said in a press release.
Schurman said the man who was with Sidney fled and has not been found. Kirk Sidney said he believes his daughter was used by the man as a human shield.
“He used her like this so he could get away. It's sad,” Kirk Sidney said. “It's not how she should have passed. (Her life) got snuffed in the wrong place. These people trying to shoot at each other, it's not the way to solve problems.”
The shooting scene is a few blocks from Crawford Village, where Sidney lived.
On Tuesday morning, county investigators canvassed homes in the area looking for information. A patch of snow in the front yard of one of the homes along McCleary Street was stained red with blood where the victim fell.
A neighbor who did not wish to be identified said he was sleeping when the shooting started.
“I heard bam, bam, bam, bam,” he said. “I jumped up. I thought someone was beating on my door.”
McKeesport police Lt. Tim Hanna said officers found Sidney lying on the ground when they arrived at the scene just after 11:07 p.m.
Hanna said evidence was gathered and police are continuing their investigation with county police. Hanna deferred questions Tuesday night to county investigators, who could not be reached for an update at presstime.
Anyone with information should call the county police Homicide unit at 412-473-1300 or McKeesport police at 412-675-5050.
Staff writer Eric Slagle contributed to this story. Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1965, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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