Brother's killing in Duquesne recounted

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Isaac Peek wanted to walk across the hall in his Duquesne Place apartment building on Jan. 14, 2012, to buy some candy as he and his extended family members celebrated a birthday and watched the pro football playoffs.

"I didn't make it that far," Isaac, now 16, testified Wednesday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. "I walked out the hall. A man raised a gun at me. I didn't even make it out the door."

Isaac told the jury that he saw the man for only one or two seconds, but he was sure of his description -- a dark-complected black man with short, low-cut hair, a goatee, gray-hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. The man was holding a silver, semi-automatic handgun.

"The man raised his gun up and started shooting," Isaac said. "I was running back in the house. The door didn't shut, and the firing kept happening, so I just kept running back to the room."

When the 22 shots finally stopped, Isaac found he had been hit in his upper left thigh.

"I came out of the room and seen my brother on the floor," he said. "I kicked his feet and told him he could get up.

"He didn't move."

Then, Isaac said, his mom ran to his brother, Daniel.

"He was telling her, 'ma, help me.' "

Daniel Peek, who was 16, died.

On Tuesday, the man police say killed him went on trial before Judge Kevin G. Sasinoski.

Eric Barlow, 23 of Duquesne is charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

During his opening statement, assistant district attorney Michael Berquist told the jury that Isaac would be his key witness in the case.

After the shooting, Isaac was taken to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC for treatment, and late that night was shown a photo array of possible suspects.

Isaac circled one and said that he was the person who looked "most similar" to the shooter.

Four days later, when police showed him another lineup, Isaac identified Mr. Barlow, and said he was certain, the prosecutor said.

"I was confident and sure this was the one," Isaac testified.

He said he did not know Mr. Barlow and didn't think he'd ever seen him before.

But defense attorney Kenneth Haber repeatedly questioned Isaac about his description of the suspect.

At the time, Isaac described the shooter as being about 5 feet 10 inches tall, but Mr. Barlow is 5 feet 6 inches.

Mr. Berquist readily admitted to the jury that there was another, unknown person involved in the shooting at the Peek apartment. Investigators found two different shooting positions and believe two different types of ammunition -- from a .40-caliber handgun and a 9 mm -- were used.

During his opening statement, Mr. Haber said Mr. Berquist's version of events was "not even close."

Instead, he continued, the evidence in the case is "murky. It is blurry. It might even be nonexistent.

"There won't be one shred of evidence linking Eric Barlow to that crime," Mr. Haber said.


Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.

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