Two gunmen working as a team fatally shot five people in critically wounded two others at a backyard cookout, with one attacker using a high velocity rifle to shoot all the victims in the head as they were driven in his direction. “The murders were planned. They were calculated,” Dist. Atty. Stephen Zappala said. The gunman appeared to have targeted one or two of the victims, said Zappala, who said they hadn’t ruled out drugs as a motive.
Four women, one of them pregnant, and a man were killed as they rushed toward the back porch in an alleyway to seek cover as a gunman fired a .40 caliber pistol at as many as 15 adults who were playing cards and having a late night cookout in the yard. That steered the victims toward the rear porch and door of the house, where an accomplice armed with a .762 caliber rifle similar to an AK-47 shot them from behind a chain-link fence less than 10 feet from the porch, Zappala said.
The man with the rifle aimed high throughout the barrage of bullets. Four of the dead were found on a tiny back porch. “They were all head shots,” Zappala said. The dead included three siblings, Brittney Powell, 27, who a cousin said lived at the home; Jerry Shelton, 35; and Chanetta Powell, 25. The other two were Shada Mahone, 26, and Tina Shelton, 37.