For a second day in a row, family and friends attend the funeral of a teenager killed in a shooting at an Airbnb party in Pittsburgh

Bonnie McLain remembers throwing baseballs at her great-nephew when he was 6 years old.

“I can see him right now in his grandmother’s garden,” McLain said, as she sat inside the East Liberty location of the Coston Funeral Homes on Saturday morning. “He hit on the left. He could really hit that ball.

This is one of the many memories she has of Mathew (Matthew) Steffy-Ross, 17, from Pitcairn. McLain said on his birth certificate that there was a “T” in his first name, but he preferred two “Ts”.

Steffy-Ross, along with Jaiden Za’mar Brown, 17, of North Braddock, were killed on Easter Sunday April 17 in a shooting at a party at a rented house on the North Side of Pittsburgh.

About 200 people were inside the home, rented as an Airbnb, and dozens more were outside when the shooting began, witnesses and police said.

A senior at Woodland Hills High School, Brown’s funeral was held Friday at Living Water Ministry Church in Braddock.

Steffy-Ross and her older brother, Alden, were cared for by their grandmother until her death three years ago. McLain took over as caregiver because the parents were too ill to care for the children, the family said, according to a statement released Thursday. Her grandmother’s death hit Steffy-Ross hard, the family said.

Steffy-Ross was a member of East Liberty-based Youth Enrichment Services. It mentors young people and offers academic assistance and counseling to inspire them to become leaders. Youth Enrichment Services founder and executive director Dennis Floyd Jones arranged transportation for Steffy-Ross’ friends to the funeral home and church.

After a two-hour visitation, a private memorial service was held at the Allegheny Center Alliance Church on the North Side of Pittsburgh, followed by a post-funeral gathering. Jones’ organization paid for the lunch.

Steffy-Ross’ memorial service was held at the same church as Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Haskins died Feb. 9 after being hit by a dump truck on a highway in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

His wife, Kalabrya, donated flowers from her late husband’s service Friday for Steffy-Ross’s funeral, one attendee said.

“It’s hard for me, but I take comfort in the fact that so many people leave this earth never feeling loved,” McLain, 77, of Turtle Creek, told the funeral home. “He absolutely knew he was surrounded by love.”

McLain said she received calls and messages from New York to California and from Washington, D.C. to Washington, Pennsylvania – across the country, from people asking for information about her great-nephew from news organizations and television channels to people who wanted to send their condolences.

Tim Stevens, president and CEO of the Black Political Empowerment Project and co-organizer of the Coalition Against Violence, stopped to pay his respects.

“There are too many of these young people dying,” Stevens said. “The problem is that it’s not going to go away today or tomorrow or next week, but we can’t stop looking for ways to build more peaceful communities.”

He said there is documentation that contains strategies for change and a need for people to embrace and put those strategies into action.

“Don’t just leave those words on a page,” Stevens said. “We need proper implementation and patience in a hospitalization situation.”

He said people have to be proactive. He said that the contribution of young people is also necessary: ​​it is not only adults who make all the decisions.

“We need young people to be part of the conversation,” Stevens said.

Stevens said he has been in contact with various organizations, including the Pittsburgh City Council, the Northside Partnership Project and Pastor Michael Anthony Day. Stevens said it was a positive sign that legislation was introduced at City Council on Tuesday aimed at regulating Airbnb and other short-term rental units in the city.

“It’s being proactive,” Stevens said.

Steffy-Ross decided to launch a line of t-shirts. It was to be launched in May. He wanted to surprise his aunt with one of the shirts, McLain said.

Some friends wore the shirts on Saturday.

McLain said his great-nephew had a positive impact on so many people as images of his life were displayed in a slideshow.

“That kid was such a shining light,” McLain said. “He had such a bright future.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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