W-B police investigate shooting
WILKES-BARRE — A flurry of gunshots erupted Monday night at an intersection in the city’s North End near the home of the city police commander, who confronted the gunman.
Investigators launched a wide search for the suspected gunman, but he remained at large as of press time.
Wilkes-barre Police Lt. Ralph Elick confirmed multiple shots were fired near Wyoming and Beaumont streets, but no one was hit.
A family who lives on the street corner counted six shots fired.
The shooting occurred near the home of Wilkesbarre police Commander Joseph Coffay, who was spotted on scene in civilian clothes helping investigate.
Investigators did not say what led to the shooting or if anyone, including Coffay, were targeted.
Coffay said he thinks it was a random shooting and doesn’t believe he was targeted.
He said he spotted the gunman and tried to stop him.
“I happen to live here and I saw him shooting, so I confronted him,” Coffay said.
After Coffay yelled to the gunman, he kept firing.
“He fired four more times,” Coffay said.
State police and Chief County Detective Michael Dessoye were called in to assist Wilkes-barre police with the probe.
District Attorney Stephanie Salavantis said it was too early to release more information.
“I can’t comment on it at this point except that there were shots fired on Wyoming Street and it is under investigation,” Salavantis wrote in a text message at 10:12 p.m.
The intersection of Wyoming and Beaumont streets was closed and police had at least five evidence markers on the ground near what appear to be bullet shell casings.
Wilkes-barre’s other commander, Ron Foy, and police Chief Marcella Lendacky were also on scene.
A 14-year-old girl who lives nearby spotted some of the shooting. Her parents allowed her to speak to The Citizens’ Voice as long as the paper did not identify her.
After hearing several gunshots, she looked out the window of their home and saw the man in the middle of the street.
She saw him raise the gun and fire twice, causing a flash to emit from the gun both times. She said she couldn’t see what he was shooting at.
But then the man turned and looked at her, catching her looking at him.
“I ran into the kitchen and told my mom,” she said.
The man then fled. She said the man was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and she couldn’t get a good look at him to give a description.
Police confer near a roadblock on Wilkes-barre Boulevard in Wilkes-barre on Monday night.
Wilkes-barre police Commander Joseph Coffay, right, speaks with other officers on the scene near his home Monday night in Wilkes-barre.