2 charged in fatal shooting
The stepfather of a young Beaver Falls mother who was shot to death said her family is relieved that authorities captured two teens wanted in the slaying.
‘We're glad they got caught,” Wesley Chapman, Kayla Peterson's stepfather, said Wednesday. “We've been waiting for them to get caught.”
Members of the U.S. Marshals Western Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force arrested Marcus Velasquez and Todavia Cleckley, both 14, Tuesday night.
Police said Velasquez shot Peterson on Dec. 8 when she told him to get a job and stop trying to bum cigarettes outside her home on 13th Street. Police said Velasquez, Cleckley and Kyle Goosby Jr., 13, followed her fiance, William Bailey, home from J‘s News and yelled at him for cigarettes before she challenged them.
Police arrested Goosby on Dec. 10 and charged him with conspiracy. Police continued to search for Velasquez, whom they charged with homicide and related offenses, and Cleckley, whom police also charged with conspiracy, and said they believed both could be armed and dangerous.
Members of the fugitive task force found the teens in the living room of a house on 34th Street in Beaver Falls, supervisory deputy U.S. marshal Jon Gallagher said. Authorities arrested the two without incident.
“They were just hanging out in the front room,” Gallagher said. “I don't think they knew who was at the door.”
Gallagher described the home as belonging to an “associate” of the pair. He said they've been “bouncing around” various houses in the area.
Police did not find any weapons in the home. Gallagher said four other people were there when officers arrested the teens.
Beaver Falls police Wednesday said they were not releasing any additional information about the shooting or arrests, including whether anyone could be charged for harboring the two teens.
The Beaver County District Attorney's Office did not return a phone message seeking comment.
Chapman said the family mainly worried about the safety of Bailey, the main witness to his fiancee's shooting. Bailey is now caring for the couple's 1-year-old daughter.
Chapman said his family had a necklace made for the baby that will contain a portion of her mother's ashes.
“It's so she always has her mom with her,” Chapman said.
Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or email@example.com.