Devoted grandma, cut down by random gunfire, mourned


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Charlene Walters was her family's rock.

She picked up her grandchildren every day at the bus stop, took them to practices and never missed a Wilkinsburg Bees football game. She was the only person her adult son could tell anything without feeling judged. Her husband described her as "everything."

But none of that mattered when bullets were recklessly sprayed into the stands at her grandson's football game at Pittsburgh Obama school in East Liberty on Oct. 13. Mrs. Walters of Lincoln-Lemington was shot in the chest and stomach and died two days later at UPMC Presbyterian.

At a memorial service Friday at Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Larimer, her family and friends said they can only look to God and each other now to make peace with her death.

"She saw good in everybody; it's hard to believe but it's the truth," said her husband, William Walters, who called her "Shorty." "That's what makes this so hard."

Two pictures of Mrs. Walters, a petite and attractive soft-spoken 64-year-old woman who suffered from multiple sclerosis, were placed on stands and surrounded by wreaths of flowers at the front of the church, where several hundred people paid their respects to a life cut short.

Pam Scoggins said she met Mrs. Walters when they were both 14 and pledging a sorority together at Westinghouse High School. The pair remained best friends over the years and recently started a jewelry-making company together.

Mrs. Walters was deeply caring and always tried to help people, she said, whether it was offering money to every homeless person she passed or making her grandchildren's crossing guard a piece of jewelry.

"Every single person that Charlene met she touched their life in a way that made it a little bit better," she said.

During the service, Ms. Scoggins wore a necklace Mrs. Walters had made for her with a circular pendant that was inscribed with the words "sisters are always friends."

Her son Kalib Walters, 25, said in addition to rearing her own three children, she also practically raised several of their friends growing up.

"She would do anything for anyone," he said.

The hour-long service featured scripture readings, prayers, musical tributes, readings of cards from loved ones and a powerful eulogy delivered by the Rev. Benjamin Calvert.

"To be an innocent bystander caught in the line of fire of some clown who has carried a beef from the streets to Facebook to a Little League football game is as the mayor would say ... is unacceptable in our community," he said.

Mrs. Walters was one of two unintended victims to be killed in the city by gunfire in two days last week. Ne'Ondre Harbour, 16, was also fatally shot when a gunman opened fire on a crowd on North Aiken Avenue Oct. 14. A suspect has been arrested in Mr. Harbour's slaying, but Mrs. Walters' killer remains at large.

At the time of her death, her brother, Edward Mosley, 62, was in the Bahamas. Because the pair vacation together every year, he had urged her to come along. But prying her away from her grandchildren proved too difficult.

"We've lost a wonderful person," Mr. Mosley said. "My heart is broken. I miss my big sister."

She had taken 7-year-old DeRae Lawrence, a Bees cheerleader, and 11-year-old Paul Rucker, a Bees football player, to the game and was ready to cheer them on when she was shot.

Paul sat next to his grandfather with his head in his hands throughout most of the service.

What he will most remember about his grandma -- who he said he spent every day with -- is "how nice she was and she never got mad."

neigh_city

Taryn Luna: 412-263-1985 or tluna@post-gazette.com.


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