Mourners call for reform during vigil for Ka'Sandra Wade


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More than 100 friends, colleagues and family members gathered in East Liberty to honor New Year's Eve shooting victim Ka'Sandra Wade.

Ms. Wade, 33, of Larimer, was found dead in her Lowell Street home New Year's Day, nearly a day after two Pittsburgh Police officers responded to her 911 call. The officers left the home after Ms. Wade's boyfriend, Anthony L. Brown, 51, told police through a window that they could not enter the house. Mr. Brown took his own life after a standoff with police. He left a note during the standoff suggesting police could have saved Ms. Wade's life.

Officers never spoke directly to Ms. Wade.

The vigil was hosted by Ms. Wade's former co-workers at Action United, a community organization that supports the interests of low- and moderate-income residents. The group also announced the creation of a trust fund at PNC Bank for Ms. Wade's 10-year-old son, Zaire Brown.

Action United campaign manager Maryellen Deckard said the organization is planning a forum for low- and moderate-income women who have experienced domestic violence to discuss how to shape a law regarding how officers respond to situations where domestic violence is a possibility. She said the Women's Law Project would draft the suggestions into a bill to be named "Ka'Sandra's Law" to be presented to both city and county Council. She said they hope to see a law passed by March 8, which is International Women's Day.

Councilman Bill Peduto seconded the idea of a policy for police speaking directly to individuals who call 911, but added that the city must do more to enforce lost and stolen handgun ordinances and become engaged in a national discussion on gun violence.

"We're here today with Action United and other community leaders because we believe we can solve this issue, we don't have to just light candles and march," said Mr. Peduto. "We've stood together many times lighting candles and marching, but the fact is that we have to address it from a gun violence perspective, we have to address it from a domestic violence perspective, and there are policies we can do to make sure this life wasn't taken in vain," he said.

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Deborah M. Todd: dtodd@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1652. First Published January 13, 2013 12:00 AM


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