Hill District shooting victim ‘did no wrong’
On Louella Foster’s 61st birthday, someone gunned down her oldest son on a Hill District street.
“I feel like I’m 90 now,” Foster, of the Hill District, said Wednesday. “Why would someone kill him?
“He didn’t have an enemy in the world. I don’t understand it.”
A passer-by found Delfonte Ellis, 43, of the Hill District about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday on Shawnee Street with a bullet wound to the head, Pittsburgh police said. He was walking to work at the University of Pittsburgh, where he cleaned and handled maintenance, said Tamara Prince, his girlfriend of eight years.
Ellis’ relatives described him as a positive man and called the shooting “senseless.”
“He had a family. He was a working man,” said Prince, 36, the mother of Ellis’ 3-year-old daughter. “I’m lost for words. I can’t see how this could happen.”
No arrests have been made, and police haven’t determined a motive.
“He got along with everybody,” said Hayward Ellis, 41, one of Delfonte’s three brothers. “To kill my brotherâ¢ That was definitely senseless.”
Prince said Delfonte Ellis was a health fanatic who exercised and took their daughter to school every day. He also had three sons.
“He was just the best,” said his son, Trayvon Ellis, 16. “You can’t say much more. He really did no wrong.”
Delfonte Ellis grew up in the Hill District and worked since he was 14 years old, Foster said. He enlisted in the Marines when he was 18 and served for four years, she said.
“Delfonte is a very strong person,” Foster said. “He’s the backbone of my family.”
Ellis cleaned in Scaife Hall for more than six years, said Pitt spokesman John Fedele. The university extended condolences to Ellis’ friends and family.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with them,” Fedele said.
Former City Councilwoman Tonya Payne remembered working with Ellis when he was a member of the Oak Hill Tenant Council in the Hill District.
“He was actively involved,” she said. “He didn’t just show up and not speak. He was there, and he participated.”
Foster said people in the neighborhood knew her son.
“He’s moved everybody in this community at least twice,” she said. “He’s just worked so hard over the years. He’s a positive person. He’s a role model for not only his sons and his brothers but other people in this community.
“I’m praying they get who killed him.”
Police asked anyone with information about the shooting to call police at 412-323-7161.