Brook Lynn Lank, 24, allegedly shot and killed Anthony Lofton, 22, on Sunday.
An Allegheny County Police Department complaint obtained by Newsweek stated that a man walked into the Stowe Township Police Department at about 6:29 a.m. Sunday to report that he saw a male lying in the roadway on Derby Alley in McKees Rocks, approximately five miles away from Pittsburgh. Local law enforcement and EMS responded to the individual.
The victim reportedly had no identification. He had a tattoo above his left eye that said “Asiya” and another tattoo on the back of his left hand that said “$helly.” The only items reportedly on his person were cigarettes, a small amount of suspected marijuana, a key, and $45 in cash.
The victim, later confirmed to be Lofton, was pronounced dead at 6:50 a.m. An autopsy showed that the Pittsburgh native was murdered by a gunshot wound to the head.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 8,593 total deaths in 2022 related to gun violence, including 3,709 deaths due to homicides, murders or unintentional shootings. Numbers skyrocketed between 2019 and 2020 when gun violence deaths increased year to year by nearly 4,000 deaths.
However, as noted by the Pew Research Center, more than half of the gun violence deaths were suicides. The Center said that the 45,222 total gun deaths in 2020 “were by far the most on record,” representing a 14 percent increase from the previous year and a 25 percent increase compared to five years earlier.
Numerous detectives assessed the crime scene, according to the complaint. Surveillance footage obtained by police from nearby Russelwood Avenue reportedly showed a dark Ford Taurus stop in Derby Alley at about 6:05 a.m. Sunday. Another male reportedly removed Lofton’s body from the left passenger seat of the vehicle and left the body in the alley before the vehicle left the vicinity.
One detective reportedly received information on the license plate of the burgundy 2011 Ford Taurus, finding out that it traveled twice on the McKees Rocks Bridge that night: once coming from the north side at about 5:47 a.m., and another time at about 6:11 a.m. exiting the bridge and heading into the city.
Another piece of video allegedly showed the Taurus making turns on local streets near Derby Alley just minutes before Lofton’s body was left at the scene.
The vehicle’s registration was investigated by detectives, finding that the Taurus was reportedly rented to Lank and another woman. Detectives found out that the vehicle was equipped with a GPS locator that activated when the vehicle was turned off. That is how they tracked it to an Econo Lodge in Kennedy Township, Pennsylvania.
At about 11:30 a.m. Monday a room at the Econo Lodge was surveilled by numerous detectives. At about 4 p.m. a male entered and exited a hotel room within five minutes. Police conducted a traffic stop on the individual, who allegedly admitted to purchasing cocaine from a woman inside that same hotel room.
About 30 minutes later two females were seen leaving the hotel room, getting into a white Hyundai Elantra to leave the area. Police conducted a traffic stop on that vehicle, reportedly finding Lank in the front passenger seat while another woman drove the vehicle. The driver, a woman named Betty, allegedly admitted to renting the hotel room.
About five minutes later, a Black male was reportedly seen opening the burgundy Ford Taurus and “appeared to be cleaning the interior of the vehicle.” Following 2-3 minutes of cleaning the rear passenger seat, the individual began cleaning the front passenger area.
“Believing that possible evidence was being destroyed,” detectives bombarded the vehicle and the individual. “Apparent blood stains” were observed on the vehicle’s rear passenger door speaker, armrest area and on the front passenger seat near the headrest, according to the complaint.
All three individuals were apprehended and brought into the Allegheny County Police Department. Lank allegedly told police that she was in a relationship with Lofton, who she said threatened her with a gun on Saturday evening before leaving in her Ford Taurus.
Lofton reportedly came back, according to Lank, and they left to make a drug deal. She told police they got into an altercation while he was in the passenger seat, so she reached for his gun and shot him in the head.
“She said that he was still breathing and reaching for her, so she shot him two more times,” the complaint read. “Lank said she panicked and then dumped his body in the alley in McKees Rocks.”
Lank added that she threw the gun out the window and wasn’t sure of its location. She then reportedly drove to her house on Pittsburgh’s north side, where she allegedly attempted to clean the vehicle with Lysol wipes and household cleaning supplies.
“I obviously didn’t do a very good job,” she reportedly told police.
Germel Phillips, the Black male who was apprehended after reportedly cleaning the vehicle of stains in the Econo Lodge parking lot, reportedly told police that Lank picked him up because she wanted to go for a ride. Lofton’s dead body was in the front passenger seat but Phillips thought he was asleep. Lank then allegedly threatened Phillips with a gun if he did not discard Lofton’s body.
A spokesperson for Pittsburgh Municipal Court told Newsweek that Lank had an arraignment Tuesday morning. Her bond was denied.
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