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2 charged in fatal Penn Hills shooting in possible drug deal gone bad

| Thursday, June 19, 2014, 7:03 a.m.
Allegheny County Police
Traevon Nicholson, 18, was charged in connection with the shooting death of a 21-year-old man in Penn Hills on Wednesday, June 18, 2014.
Allegheny County Police
Marshall Thompson, 18, was charged in connection with the shooting death of a 21-year-old man in Penn Hills on Wednesday, June 18, 2014.

Allegheny County police charged two teenagers, one a former Penn Hills High School football player, in the shooting death of a man during an apparent drug deal in Penn Hills.

Traevon Nicholson and Marshall Thompson, both 18, were charged with homicide, conspiracy and weapons counts in the shooting about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday on Third Street, said Lt. Andrew Schurman.

Police responding to reports of shots found Jose Alberto Negron-Fernandez, 21, with a chest wound, Schurman said. Penn Hills paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Police believe the victim was involved in a drug deal and possibly was being robbed before he was shot, Schurman said.

Nicholson told police that he and Thompson, along with an employee of the Gulf fuel station at Sandy Creek and Verona roads and a friend identified only as “D,” arranged on Tuesday to make a heroin deal with Negron-Fernandez, a criminal complaint said.

Nicholson, Thompson and “D” met Negron-Fernandez and the gas station employee on Wednesday, the complaint said.

Nicholson told police that Negron-Fernandez handed him $800. When Nicholson yelled, “It's short,” Negron-Fernandez grabbed the money and began running, according to the complaint.

Thompson, however, told police that Negron-Fernandez asked where the heroin was and gave his money to Nicholson, who then said, “You are burnt; get out.” According to the affidavit, Negron-Fernandez then grabbed some of the money, exclaiming, “You are going to have to kill me,” and turned to get out of the car.

Nicholson told police he believed it was “D” who shot Negron-Fernandez. Investigating officers noted that Nicholson gave different accounts to two detectives about where his gun, a Cobray .380 semiautomatic, was located.

Thompson is a 2014 Penn Hills High School graduate and was a member of the football team. A photo of a letter posted to his Facebook page shows he was preparing to become a student at Lackawanna College.

The college issued a statement saying Thompson completed the admissions process but never attended.

“In light of his arrest and the severity of the allegations, by college policy, he is no longer eligible for enrollment,” the statement read.

Penn Hills School District officials would not confirm whether Nicholson is a student at the high school. His name was not included in the graduate list the school provided. No one answered the door at his home.

Patrick Varine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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