Detectives allege that Cheron Shelton fired off 30 rounds during the retaliatory shooting

By Chris Harris
June 23, 2016 06:15 PM
Allegheny County Police Department

After three months, police in Pennsylvania say they’ve arrested the two armed men who allegedly ambushed a backyard barbecue, fatally shooting five people while injuring three others, PEOPLE confirms.

A press release from Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr.’s office contends Cheron Shelton, 29, and Robert Thomas, 27, are each facing six counts of criminal homicide for their alleged roles in the March 9 shooting, which occurred in the Wilkinsburg section of Pittsburgh.

The shooting killed four adults, including a woman who was eight months pregnant.

Investigators allege Thomas, armed with a pistol, fired 18 shots at the party’s 15 attendees. Police claim the shots sent the partygoers scattering, with several taking cover behind a fence. Detectives allege that Shelton shot 30 rounds from his rifle directly at the fence. They believe the shooting was retaliatory.

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According to police, those killed in the shooting were Brittany Powell, 27, and her siblings, Chanetta Powell, a 25-year-old pregnant woman, and Jerry Shelton, 35.

Medical examiners have determined Chanetta Powell’s unborn son died because she did, police claim.

The other victims were a cousin of the siblings, Tina Shelton, 37, and their friend, Shada Mahone, 26.

Cheron Shelton is not related to any of his victims, according to police, who say he planned the shootings with Thomas upon learning Lamont Powell was at the cookout.

Efforts to reach their lawyers were unsuccessful Thursday.

Both defendants also face six counts each of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment along with a single criminal conspiracy charge.