Police, community hold Saturday rally for 1-year-old shot at picnic

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A coalition that has been holding regular rallies since August to try to generate leads about the person who shot 1-year-old Marcus White last year at a picnic will hold another rally today with an even larger goal.

"This is a chance for the police to show they can work with the community and the community can work with the police, which hasn't happened much in the last year in Zone 5," said Shanon Williams, an organizer with Cease Fire PA.

The 2 p.m. rally will be held at the Zone 5 headquarters at 1401 Washington Blvd. in Pittsburgh's Homewood neighborhood. The location is significant, Ms. Williams said, because it is being held there at the request of the Zone 5 police commander, Tim O'Connor.

This is a part of the city where mistrust is high between police and the residents who might best be able to help them identify the shooter, she said, because of past high-profile incidents, including the beating and arrest of Pittsburgh high schooler Jordan Miles, in 2010, and the arrest of a Pittsburgh school teacher for shouting at a speeding police vehicle last year.

She said Cease Fire and other coalition groups, including The Coalition for Fathering Families, hopes today's rally will help start rebuilding that trust -- and encourage skeptical residents to come forward with information.

"When people trust the people who police the neighborhood, they trust them to come forward with information," she said.

The rally also comes a month before what would have been Marcus' 2nd birthday, on Feb. 19; Pittsburgh City Council has said it will proclaim the day as Marcus L. White Jr. Day in his memory.

The rally, as with past rallies, is being advertised on social media, via a Facebook page (Justice for Baby Marcus) and Instagram (Justice for Baby Mac). All are welcome to attend, Ms. Williams said.

Marcus White Jr. was killed, and two of his aunts injured, in a May 2013 shooting during a picnic at the Second East Hills housing complex.


Sean D. Hamill: shamill@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2579.

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