City shooting takes life

A young man, believed to be in his early 20s, was shot to death in an alley in the 300 block of Susquehanna Street about 5:40 p.m. Wednesday, according to city police sources.

“We have a death investigation, and all indications (are) it looks like a homicide,” Police Chief Gregory Foresman confirmed at the scene.

District Attorney Eric R. Linhardt confirmed late Wednesday night that it was a homicide and that “the scene was being processed.”

The gunman remains at large and police had no comment on the motive for the shooting, coming just nine days into the New Year.

“We have some individuals that were taken to police headquarters and are being questioned,” Foresman said, declining to say if they were witnesses.

The identity of the victim was not expected to be released until later today.

Officers cordoned off the alley with tape in order to preserve the crime scene.

Word of the shooting spread quickly as distraught relatives and close friends soon converged on the scene.

When the relatives realized there was nothing that could be done to save the man, they became inconsolable.

“My baby, my baby is dead,” a woman repeatedly screamed.

“Oh my God, someone is dying,” another woman said.

One man desperately wanted to reach the body but was restrained by an officer.

“You want us to catch who did this, don’t you? Go be with your family,” a police agent repeatedly told the grieving man, whose pain was indescribable.

As more friends and relatives began to arrive, additional officers, including some Pennsylvania College of Technology police and sheriff deputies, arrived to gain control at the scene. State troopers also responded.

Foreman allowed the grieving group to vent for a bit, but when some men started screaming profanities at the officers, he had had enough.

He ordered the officers to cordon off a larger area with crime tape and told them to arrest anyone who did not comply. No arrests were necessary.

“I’m very sorry for their loss, but I will not going to allow anyone to act disorderly or be belligerent toward the officers who are just trying to do their job,” Foresman said.

Police sources said investigators were looking for two black men, both believed to be 5 feet 8 inches tall, and weighing about 130 pounds and wearing black sweatshirts with hoods.

“We’re pursuing all leads,” Foresman said.

As officers were dealing with the homicide scene, another report of “shots fired” was received in the 400 block of Rural Avenue just after 6 p.m.

“Go mutual-aid,” a supervisor officer directed a dispatcher. Penn College and Old Lycoming Township police responded to the area.

Capt. Tim Miller said “We’re looking into (what happened there).”

Police did not know if gunshots actually were fired or if the blasts were fireworks. “We didn’t find anything there,” another officer said.

At least four detectives were called in to assist with the Susquehanna Street shooting and extra officers were called in off-duty to help with the volume of other police calls.

Savannah Dempsey and other Sun-Gazette staff contributed to this story.