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Antwon Rose remembered as academic achiever, personable, charismatic

Megan Guza
| Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 6:45 p.m.
Antwon Rose
Antwon Rose
Antwon Rose
Antwon Rose

When Cathy Welsh's son was shot and killed in November, Antwon Rose's father and uncle supported her in the wake of the tragedy.

"(They) would stay at my house, come and check on me, just to let me know there are strong men here for you, too," she said.

Now she will return the favor in the wake of more tragedy.

"He was basically my nephew," Welsh said of the 17-year-old Rose, who was shot and killed by an East Pittsburgh police officer as authorities said he ran from a traffic stop Tuesday night. He was unarmed, police said, and he was shot three times.

He played baseball at Woodland Hills High School with Welsh's son, Jerame Turner.

"He was just a good kid," she said.

Family and friends described the teen as incredibly smart and always flashing a wide smile. They expressed disbelief at his death.

His aunt, Mica Tinsley, said she received a call in the middle of the night saying, "Your nephew died."

"I said, 'No he didn't,' and hung up," she said. Then she called her sister, Rose's mother, and learned that it was true.

She said her nephew was intelligent, and he took Advanced Placement and gifted classes at Woodland Hills High School.

High school Principal Candee Nagy said Rose competed in academic competitions throughout high school.

"He was a very intelligent, well-mannered, respectful individual that worked hard to do his best," she said. "He's somebody you really recognized as a powerhouse, with the gift he had bestowed upon him as a young man."

District officials said he scored high on his SAT test and was one English class shy of graduating.

Tinsley said her nephew was working two jobs at two local pizza shops and had his sights set on college. He wanted to leave Rankin.

The high school year book contains a memorial page for Woodland Hills students who have been killed, including 14-year-old Augustus Gray, who was shot in November in Pittsburgh. Two days later, Jerame Turner, 16, was shot and killed. He, too, appears on the memorial page.

Rose is featured alongside his classmates in the Class of 2018 photos.

"To think he's pictured in this yearbook, and should now be pictured on this memorial page — it's upsetting," Nagy said. "It never gets easy to experience another loss."

Family and friends said Rose played hockey, skateboarded and Rollerbladed, but more than anything he loved basketball.

"He was always at the court," said Dewayne Hilgo, one of Rose's close friends. "He was very smart. He always had a job."

He said Rose always made sure he could take care of himself. The two hung out together hours before the shooting.

"We were just chilling," he said. "He left to go do his thing. I'd go do mine."

He said he's spent the past day trying not to think about the shooting. He watched a Facebook video that began circulating shortly after the shooting which shows Rose run from the scene and almost immediately fall to the ground after being struck by the officer's gunfire.

Rae Prunty, 18, of Braddock said he also watched the video. He later wished he hadn't.

The two met in fourth grade and bonded over their shared desire to steal the class's pet turtle and keep it for themselves.

Like others, he recalled Rose's intelligence, even back in fourth grade when "not many kids are worried about keeping up with their grades."

The two had volunteered together last year at Braddock's Free Store, and Rose had reached out to him over the weekend to talk about volunteering again.

He didn't have to, Prunty said, but he wanted to.

"It just — it sucks," he said. "It felt fake at first."

Prunty said he wants people to know who Rose was — who anyone killed by gun violence was.

"These kids getting killed, they have lives," he said. "Antwon volunteered. He was a good student. He's not just another kid."

Staff writer Jamie Martines contributed. Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519, or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.

RELATED: Read all of TribLIVE's coverage on the Antwon Rose case.

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