Update in the Murder of Pittsburgh Lesbian Shanique Saunders

Pittsburgh Black Lesbian Shanique Saunders
Photo of Shanique courtesy of her family.

First, a clarification – Shanique’s surname had been originally reported as Sanders. Today, I realized that the reporting was changed to Saunders. I confirmed that Saunders is the surname of her mother. I am very sorry for the error and am working to determine where the original information was sourced. I honestly don’t know how this happened, but I am very sorry for the error. I realize how important naming can be, especially in reporting on LGBTQ stories.

On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Police filed charges against Russell Spence, a 19 year old resident of McKeesport. Spence appears to have been an acquaintance or friend of Shanique’s prior to her murder. The diver of the jitney who witnessed the murder gave police a statement. From WPXI:

According to the complaint, the driver told police as he was pulling up to McKinley Street in Knoxville, he heard the gunshot and then Spence pointed the gun at him. The driver said he saw “smoke coming from the barrel of the gun,” the complaint said.
The complaint said Spence pushed Saunders out of the front seat of the car, stood over her body, rummaged through her pockets for money and then ran off.
Spence is facing multiple counts, including criminal homicide. He’s being held without bail at the Allegheny County Jail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 14, 2016. No word on yet on if the investigation is completed.


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