W-B po­lice in­ves­ti­gate shoot­ing

The Citizens' Voice - - Local / Nation / World - BY BOB KALINOWSKI STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: bkali­nowski@cit­i­zensvoice.com 570-821-2055, @cvbobkal

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.

DAVE SCHERBENCO / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Po­lice con­fer near a road­block on Wilkes-barre Boule­vard in Wilkes-barre on Mon­day night.

DAVE SCHERBENCO / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Wilkes-barre po­lice Com­man­der Joseph Cof­fay, right, speaks with other of­fi­cers on the scene near his home Mon­day night in Wilkes-barre.

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