‘That was God’: Sheldon Park shooting victims expected to recover, relative says
The mother and daughter wounded in an attack Monday night in Harrison’s Sheldon Park housing complex were shot so many times that a relative said their survival defies explanation.
“That was God,” Fe’shon Finch, of Latrobe, said Wednesday. “There’s no other explanation for that.”
Finch said the women are her sister-in-law, Satomi Finch, and Satomi’s 16-year-old daughter, Lilly.
Both were shot multiple times with a shotgun outside their home in what authorities called an unprovoked attack.
Satomi was hit four times; Lilly, six.
Both are expected to survive, Fe’shon Finch said.
Authorities said the neighbor who shot them, Eddie Layne, 48, killed himself.
Satomi and Lilly Finch are both facing surgeries, Fe’shon Finch said. Satomi Finch was in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, where she was scheduled for surgery Wednesday to repair organs.
Lilly was at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where she was also slated for surgeries on Wednesday.
Finch said her sister-in-law’s younger daughter, Layla, 14, was OK and is staying with her. Layla was home when the shooting happened, and pulled her mother and sister to safety after they were shot.
That Layla wasn’t shot as well is further proof of divine intervention, Finch said.
“God was working that day,” she said.
According to Fe’shon Finch, Satomi and Lilly were just arriving home when Layne came out and shot them. Satomi had been at the nearby Planet Fitness and picked up Lilly from the Sheetz along Freeport Road, where she works.
Authorities said Layne suffered from mental illness and believed his neighbors were spying on him. He was illegally staying in the end unit next to the Finches with his ex-wife, who the Allegheny County Housing Authority is now going to evict.
Layne shot the mother and daughter with a shotgun; he killed himself with a handgun. Allegheny County Police Lt. Andrew Schurman said Wednesday that the guns belonged to Layne. Traces on the weapons had not yet been finished, so it was unclear how he obtained them.
Finch said her sister-in-law and family had past run-ins with Layne.
“He would come pound on their door, act crazy and then apologize,” she said. “They said he would sit outside and make up rap songs about killing people and saying he was going to kill people — and two days later this is what he did.”
Fe’shon Finch said Satomi came to the U.S. from Japan on a student visa to go to school. She first lived in Arizona before moving to California to finish her education. That’s where she met Fe’shon’s brother, Derek Finch. He died about eight years ago.
They had a baby, got married and moved back to the Pittsburgh area after their second daughter was born to be closer to family.
Satomi Finch works for The Arc in Pittsburgh as a direct support provider, where she takes care of mentally handicapped people.
“Satomi has a very high tolerance,” said Finch, who works in the same field. “We work with special needs people. We’re used to dealing with mental and physical handicaps. We’re trained to just ignore it. Unfortunately, her ignoring it almost cost her her life.”
Finch said Satomi also teaches Sunday school at her church, Alpha Ministries in Hempfield, and volunteers at a homeless shelter in Pittsburgh.
“Nobody makes her. Nobody asks her,” Fe’shon said. “That’s what kind of person she is.
“This isn’t fair.”
Unlike those who help the homeless just around the holidays, Alpha Ministries Pastor James Lyons said Satomi Finch does it every month.
She’s adept at gathering coupons to buy things and give them to those in need, said Lyons, 84, who founded his 75-member, non-denominational church 22 years ago.
“That’s her heart. That’s the kind of person she is,” he said. “She’s trained those girls to be the followers of what she’s doing.
”Those girls are the sweetest things you want to lay eyes on.”
Layla is a ninth-grader at Highlands High School; Lilly is a junior. Fe’shon said both like animals, but they’re different — Layla being a “girlie girl,” and Lilly “more of a tomboy.”
Layla is on a dance team and plays soccer.
Lilly is a lifeguard at the YMCA, and babysits part time in addition to working at Sheetz. She helps teach Sunday school with her mother.
“That girl’s a hustler and she maintains a 4.0,” Finch said.
Lilly had started working at Sheetz on Nov. 19, store manager Jobi Balog said. Balog said Lilly quickly showed herself to be a “very sweet girl,” and a hard worker.
“Everybody fell in love with her as soon as she started working here,” Balog said. “She has one of those pleasant personalities.”
Lilly wants to go to college and be a veterinarian.
Fe’shon Finch said the family won’t be going back to Highlands or Sheldon Park. She said both girls will be enrolled in another school district.
“We’re officially making that their past,” she said. “We’re just trying to move forward and try to heal. We’re doing what needs to be done, get things taken care of, and then worry about being sad and hurt later. This is a priority.”
A GoFundMe account was created Tuesday to help the family. As of early Wednesday evening, it had collected $2,110 toward a $5,000 goal.
Once they get out of the hospitals, Satomi and Lilly will need therapy and face a long road, Fe’shon Finch said.
“Basically, we have to start all over again,” she said.
Brian Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.