Mother asks for justice in the shooting of her young sons
Amanda McKnight was putting Christmas gifts away Sunday evening, Nov. 1 when an unknown man entered her Hays Avenue home in Mount Oliver and shot and killed her 11-year-old son David McIntyre and wounded his 16-year-old brother, Christopher “CJ” Conrad.
“No parent should have to face what we’re going through,” Ms. McKnight said. “Our child is in the hospital. My baby’s dead.”
She said CJ holds himself accountable for what happened to his brother, but doesn’t know who the man was that shot them. The boys were playing a video game when the gunman entered the home without knocking or ringing the doorbell.
CJ is recovering in UPMC Mercy Hospital from his wounds including one that missed his spine by an inch Ms. McKnight said. The first few days he was there, hospital personnel asked her not to tell him that his brother had been killed in the attack.
“The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was tell my child when he asked where his brother was, that he was gone, and my son had to witness that. My son saw his little brother die in front of him,” she said. “No child or his parents should have to face that.”
She pleaded that anyone who knows anything about the shooting that took one son and put his brother in the hospital to call the police and tell them what they know.
“You were man enough to shoot my children, you’re man enough to turn yourself in,” Ms. McKnight said.
Ms. McKnight was speaking at a news conference called by the South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace (SPCP) at the Lighthouse Cathedral to stress the need for escalated action of law enforcement, government officials and community members to come together to stop the violence.
“They shot and killed an innocent child, like so many of our youth (who) have become statistics: Davids and Johns and Jamars, too many other names unknown and forgotten by us. Statistics from all walks of life, every race, age, creed, stature, personality,” said Rev. Eileen Smith, a member of the coalition and a board member of the Birmingham Foundation.
She called for the perpetrator of this latest crime to turn himself, while acknowledging the damage that continues to be done to David’s family and friends by his actions.
Roxanne E. Epperson, program manager for SPCP, explained the organization was formed in 2005 as a result of a killing at Carrick High School. Among the services they provide are educational workshops to deal with violence, how to handle the violence and where the violence comes from.
“What happened on Sunday night, what was experienced by the McIntyre family, is one of those things that even shocks a veteran police officer,” stated Zone 3 Lt. Ed Cunningham. He added Pittsburgh police detectives and patrol officers are working in cooperation with the Allegheny County police to investigate this latest crime.
“Our guys are working with their guys and both units are putting in overtime trying to determine who did this and to bring him to justice,” he said. He urged anyone who knows anything about the crime to “grab the nearest police officer,” call 911 or go to the nearest police station and tell them what they know.
Richard Carrington, executive director of Voices Against Violence, restated the purpose of the gathering was a “call to action,” to take back the streets, the blocks, the city and the county.
He called on those who are responsible for the safety of the citizens to “stop the meetings, to stop procrastinating and to start fixing this problem.”
“Some of you are very aware of the fact this is not black on black crime. This quite possibly happens to be white on white crime. And we stand here united to find this coward, this killer. We ask that he not be allowed to sleep, that he have no peace until someone finds the courage to stand up and make a difference in our communities,” he said.
“We’re not blaming the police, we’re not blaming anyone. We’re looking for solutions. Our solution we have is to stand united, to be one voice and to take our community street by street whether that be by turning our lights on at night so neighbors can see what is happening in the area.”
Mr. Carrington called on the public officials to stop trying to make the city the greenest or most livable city in the world and concentrate on making it the safest city in the world.
Additional speakers included Terrell Thomas, executive director of the Isaiah Project/My Brother’s Keeper; Rev. Cornell Jones, pastor of Iron Cross Ministries; and, Rev. Maurice Trent, pastor of Lighthouse Cathedral.
The men emphasized the need for change and the need for community members to step up to tell what they know to stop the violence and bring the perpetrators to justice.