Photographer Powerfully Frames America’s Latest Mass Shooting

Six dead; three injured; no apparent motive or suspects.

There were two solid reports on the front page of Friday’s edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Megan Guza detailed the horrific circumstances of Wednesday night’s execution-style backyard shooting in the Wilkinsburg neighborhood, which claimed five adult victims, while colleague Elizabeth Behrman focused on the woman who, in an instant, “lost three of her grown children and an unborn grandson.”


The photo that crowns Guza and Behrman’s pieces, taken by veteran Tribune-Review photographer Justin Merriman, dominates the front page in a way that photos in this print format still occasionally can. It’s a very different feeling when you come across the news in this form, rather than say, via Google News, glancing at a headline that reads “Close-Knit Family Struggles for Answers in Wake of Shooting.”

Merriman’s photo of Jessica Shelton, with the tracks of a mother’s tears visible on both cheeks, says it all. It was taken during a March 10 press conference held at Lighthouse Church:

The Reverend Maurice Trent, pastor of Lighthouse Church, said he has known the family for years. They call him “Uncle Cliff,” he said…

“The family appeals to you to pick up the phone and say something,” Trent said. He also urged people to donate to the Shelton-Powell memorial fund through Citizens Bank.

“They are facing a huge financial burden having to bury so many at one time,” he said.

Shelton’s 24-year-old son LaMont Powell was separately injured in the shooting and remains in critical condition.

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