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Fatal shooting victim was a 16-year-old

The person shot to death Friday night at Fourth and Rural avenues was 16-year-old Riley McDowell, the second juvenile killed by gunfire in the city in four months, according to the Lycoming County Coroner Charles E. Kiessling Jr.

“This is sad, so sad,” a city resident who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 50 years, told a reporter on Monday morning.

“We’ve never had anything like this happen here, not even close. If you leave your cars unlocked, kids will go through them, but that’s about it (when it came to crime),” the resident, who did not give his name, said.

McDowell, who lived with his stepfather on Park Avenue a few blocks south of the scene, was shot about 7:15 p.m. Kiessling pronounced him dead at the scene and said Monday that an autopsy was scheduled today or Wednesday at the Lehigh Valley Medical Center.

Police are not saying how many shots were fired, but a second neighbor, who also did not give his name, told the Sun-Gazette “I heard four or five shots … pap, pap, pap, pap.”

“All our available agents are working on this homicide. They are following up leads,” city Police Chief Damon Hagan said Monday.

Police are not saying how many shots were fired or releasing the extent of the teen’s fatal injuries. Investigators also are not commenting on whether they know what the motive was behind the shooting. It also was unknown if they have any suspects in the case.

“We have no details that we are prepared to release at this time. The reason is, we want to control the flow of information so that the investigation is not jeopardized,” Hagan said. “We certainly would welcome any and all assistance from the public. Callers can give information anonymously if they choose.”

Police can be reached at 570-327-7547.

“This is the third juvenile shot in the city in four months. That’s the truth. I wish the number was zero. One is too many,” Hagan said.

On the night of July 28, a 17-year-old boy was wounded in a shooting that occurred near Almond and Meade streets. The teen recovered and no arrest has been made.

Two days later, Ayliem Coleman, 16, of Williamsport, was shot to death in the 900 block of Market Street during the early-morning hours of July 30. No arrest has been made in this case either, but investigators are constantly working to develop leads in this shooting as well as the one on Almond Street, Hagan said.

McDowell’s stepfather, Lamar Morton, said Riley enjoyed sports.

“He played baseball, football, basketball, all kinds of sports. He was a good kid, he really was,” Morton said Monday during a brief interview in his living room.

“In baseball, he was pitcher, catcher, runner. He did it all,” Morton recalled. “We are all going through a tough time right now. It’s too much,” Morton said when asked how family members were holding up. “This was so unexpected,” he added.

He had no idea why someone would want to kill his stepson.

Hagan said “There have been five homicides in the city this year compared to one in 2018. Three of this year’s homicides have been solved,” he said.

The city’s one homicide last year was the slaying of a 49-year-old woman whose throat was slashed inside her home in the 2500 block of Linn Street in the city’s Newberry neighborhood in mid-August. The woman’s husband and a second man the husband hired to kill the woman are jailed and awaiting trial on homicide-related charges.

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