Saturday, December 08, 2012

Bethlehem South Side Shootout Leads to Charges Against Two Men

DA John Morganelli grew up on the south side
Yolanda Morales, age 23, died in a hail of gunfire during the early morning hours of December 2. She was killed just after leaving the Puerto Rican Beneficial Society, a club located at 205 E. Third Street. Five others are hospitalized. Altogether, six people were involved in the most bloody episode of the South Side's history since the 1910 Bethlehem Steel strike. But unlike the violence in 1910, which involved workers' rights and wages, this fight appears to have started over nothing. "It should have never reached this stage," said veteran District Attorney John Morganelli, who grew up on the South Side himself.

On Friday, Morganelli announced that two of three shooters in this gunfight, both Allentown men, have been charged. Rene Figueroa, age 32, faces homicide and related charges, including the use of a stolen .45 caliber pistol. Javier Rivera-Alverado, age 38, has also been charged with attempted homicide and aggravated assault. Neither man possessed a license to carry.

Both remain hospitalized at St. Luke's Hospital and are under guard.

A third shooter, Orialis Figueroa, age 38, and no relation to Rene Figueroa, will face no charges. According to Morganelli, he was defending himself and others. "His actions may have saved other lives that night," stated Morganelli.

Am incidental bumping inside the Puerto Rican Beneficial Club is what led to the shooting, according to court documents filed by Bethlehem police.

None of the participants in this firefight are club members, but were there for an "open night."

The two charged shooters - Rene Figueroa and Javier Rivera-Alverado - were at the club together and were concerned by another group that was supposedly eyeing up Rene Figueroa's gold jewelry.

This other group consisted of Orialis Figueroa, who was at the club with his brother, Angel Figueroa, age 35, and his nephew, Luis Rivera, age 24. Orialis was also accompanied by his girlfriend and her friend, Yolanda Morales. They are from the Easton area.

Lieutenant Mark DiLuzio, Criminal Investigations
Orialis Figueroa bumped into a group of men that included the charged shooters, and words were exchanged. One of them threatened him, saying, "Te voy a Disparar" (I'm going to shoot you.")

After the threat, Orialis Figueroa decided to leave, and waited at the club's front door for his girlfriend. Because the club was ready to close, and she would likely leave with a crowd that included the same people who threatened him, Orialis retrieved a baseball bat from her car for protection. But as he turned around along the sidewalk, he was ambushed by Rivera-Alvarado.

Pointing a handgun at Orialis Figueroa's head, Rivera-Alvarado taunted him and fired several shots into his legs.

Just as this happened, Yolanda Morales and Angel Figueroa approached. Rivera-Alvarado turned and fired at them, too. "I'm hit," said Morales. Rivera-Alvarado then turned and shot Luis Rivera.

While Rivera-Alvarado was turned, Orialis Figueroa, despite his wounds, managed to strike Rivera-Alvarado in the back of the head with the baseball bat. Rivera-Alverado collapsed to the ground.

Orialis Figueroa took Rivera-Alvarado's handgun and went to assist Angel Figueroa and Yolanda Morales. Rivera-Alvarado's friend, Rene Figueroa, was trying, with a handgun he had taken from his waistband, to get a clear shot at Angel Figueroa. Yolanda Martinez inserted herself between Rene and Angel Figueroa. Rene Figueroa just shot her. After that, he gunned down Angel Figueroa and began shooting at Orialis Figueroa, who was returning fire.

Rene Figueroa then ran back into the club and ran around the metal detector in all the chaos, giving his handgun to someone to hide for him, after which he collapsed from his wounds. Bethlehem police found it inside the club's bathroom. It has been reported stolen from Jones Gun Shop in Allentown. They continue to search for the person who hid it. The other handgun was retrieved from underneath the hood of a car.

In addition to witness statements, Bethlehem police have retrieved surveillance video from the club. District Attorney Morganelli praised them for their "excellent job piecing this together." He has assigned prosecution of this case to First Assistant DA Terry Houck.

According to Morganelli, it is too early in the prosecution to say whether the Commonwealth will seek the death penalty against Rene Figueroa.

Rene Figueroa has faced criminal charges before. In 1999 and 2006, he was charged with several firearms offenses, and entered pleas. In 2004, he entered a plea to drug offenses.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

See the names and no surprises. Hello Bethlehem, welcome to Allentown. Join the urban club.

Bernie O'Hare said...

A bigot comes up for air.

Anonymous said...

Stolen gun

Prior firearm charges

Any word on LTC?

Likely another example where gun control laws would have been worthless.

Anonymous said...

Bigot?

When a minority seemingly has a disproportionate amount of such activity that it really doesn't surprise anyone it does not make one a bigot or a racist to not be surprised

Funny. Nearly all major school shootings have been white male and I'm not surprised when they announce the perps of those heinous acts! Would that make me a bigot too!

I don't know how to search it out but can we compare atown reading new haven and other towns with large Hispanic population concentrations and compare rates os such violent crime pre and post demo changes, or compare to comparable towns It would be interesting to know

Morganelli's warning about being out after midnight is valid, but Bernie would you feel safer leaving an establishment in Nazareth, N Bethlehem, S. Bethlehem, Allentown? Does ones choice or perception make them a bigot?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:21 If you can locate the right data base, hospital admissions for gunshot wounds can be plotted by zip codes. Same way for homicides. This essentially can provide the demographic data your interested on. The DA's office also has this.
A simple literature search( newspaper) at years end can easily do the same for deaths due to gun violence.
Their is nothing inherently biased/racist in attempting to comb out data that answers questions such as who is shooting whom --- gender, age, income range, employment status,home address, race/ ethnicity of perpetrator/ victim----where and when, and with what---type/caliber of firearm.
Indeed, without this information, no real and effective intervention ( as opposed to emotional or ineffective solutions posted on LVRambeling these last few days) can begin to be designed.

Anonymous said...

One of the persons got a baseball bat to defend his friend. If i recall the newspaper articles correctly, someone even got bashed in the head with the bat. Is anyone crying out to ban baseball bats in cars. How do you defend yourself against these criminals with knives and illegal handguns? More gun laws are not the answer. Stiffer sentences by liberal judges are the answer. Let's take this to the next level. How are these criminals reared in society? And yes Bernie, without ringing out the "RACE" card, what is the make-up of our prison population based on heritage and ethnic background. Why would this subject be off base for discussion. Is there something we can do if this is a problem based on ethnenticity. Let's not duck our heads in the sand. Are the crime rates based on ethnics vs population out of wack and if they are, what should we be doing about that situation. I am not trying to start a race riot. I too am curious. Do you have any such data at your fingertips Bernie. It would be great to share this with your readers.
P.S. I have relatives that are Hispanic, African American, and Asian, so please don't call me a racist. Thank You.

Anonymous said...

If the powers that be at our local tramc centers, police departments and DA's offices haven't compiled, or won't produce for public access, the data that can plot or " map ", exactly who has been shooting whom, with what, where and when, they are incompetent or otherwise negligent and should be replaced at the first oppertunity.
This data most certainly exists. Without analyzing this information, no effective interventions are possible.
End of story. ( Or should I say the necessary beginning of story? )

Anonymous said...

It doesn't help you to be associated with me there.
When I felt it was necessary to advance my work or to support policy or people I supported I went.
I'm not a public person at this time.
Your presence with me will only complicate, not advance, your goals. I'm not n asset to you in the Arena of city politics at the moment.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:57

You can infer that is there are prior firearm charges, there probably is not an active LTC as if there was one, it should have been pulled.

As i stated in the other thread, no amount of gun control would have stopped these individuals from getting the weapons.

@6:22 Instead of focusing on the ethnicity, you should be focusing on the economic background of these areas. As economic opportunity and mobility goes down, crime goes up. It has nothing to do with ethnicity. Although the collapse of the latino family unit has been more pronounced in the recent term than other tranditional units

Anonymous said...

Just because one has family of any particular race or ethnicity does or does not in and of itself make one racist or biased or not.
Please spare us the bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Ethnicity AND economic background are but two necessary pieces of data in the puzzle if you want to do effective interventions. Just as gender, age, and other data points are.
This isn't guess work in this day and age boys and girls.

Anonymous said...

As economic opportunity has gone down these last few years, so has violent crime.
The shear volume of uninformed comment is quite something.

Anonymous said...

I have relatives who are white.

Anonymous said...

Liberal judges? In the Lehigh Valley?
Turn off Fox News and tune into reality.
Difficult policy challenges aren't affectively addressed on right wing bumper stickers.

Anonymous said...

not sure about bigotry, it has been commonplace for latinos in the allentown area to be in the newspaper for gun violence, or violence altogether.

Certainly there are ones that are not violent, but a skim through the paper certainly tells a tale.

Anonymous said...

NO LTC for any.

Once again no legally carrying citizens involved in a crime.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Funny. Nearly all major school shootings have been white male and I'm not surprised when they announce the perps of those heinous acts! Would that make me a bigot too!"

Absolutely.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Morganelli's warning about being out after midnight is valid, but Bernie would you feel safer leaving an establishment in Nazareth, N Bethlehem, S. Bethlehem, Allentown? Does ones choice or perception make them a bigot?"

I'd feel safer in Nazareth bc it is safer, but not bc it is whiter. You drew specific attention to race. You got everything ass backwards and that makes you a bigot.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"P.S. I have relatives that are Hispanic, African American, and Asian, so please don't call me a racist. Thank You."

If you posted the fist comment here, you are definitely a racist. For some reason, most racists can't recognize their own hate.

Bernie O'Hare said...

not sure about bigotry, it has been commonplace for latinos in the allentown area to be in the newspaper for gun violence, or violence altogether."

Are people really this stupid? Maybe I should come out and state most old white guys I know are stupid.

This is completely illogical and ignorant thinking. The fact that Hispanics or blacks are arrested in larger quantities than whites, proportionately, is not bc of their race, but bc of a host of factors that have nothing to do with race, from poverty to education.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Is anyone crying out to ban baseball bats in cars."
No, and the DA specifically stated, "Bats aren't guns. "

Anonymous said...

Your cast of regulars should be posting in soon with a simple ideological fix. No?

Anonymous said...

The deal goes down in bethlehem.Shooters from allentown ( surprise!). The dead from easton.
Will there be any kind of a co-ordinated regional response?
Fuck no.
The political system in the Valley is woefully and hopelessly incapable of a comprehensive response.
It doesn't work, water, development, schools, violence.....doesn't matter.
Fuckin broken RENew LV, broken.
Broken, broken

Anonymous said...

Most of the commenters have said that the evidence would show that the majoprity of violent crime in the cities is perpetrated by black or hispanics. That is a statement of fact, not race.

You , Mr. O'Hare are the one who claimsthat staing a fact is racist. Who said it is in their DNA, the stament just stated what is the current reality.

You may want to hold up that racist mirror to yourself. As those who like to brand others generally have a white hood in there own closet.

Anonymous said...

Burnie@10:44
How silly of you to say that BO.

Anonymous said...

It's all so clear.

It's Obama and the democrats that are to blame here. The democrats and the unions. The unions and hall walkers and trough feeders.

It's all so clear.

Anonymous said...

Truth of the matter is lot of old white guys are stupid.
Just check out their voting patterns.

I say this as an old white guy myself.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You , Mr. O'Hare are the one who claimsthat staing a fact is racist"

Actually, when someone said, "see the names and no surprises," I called that person a bigot, And he or she is. The obvious implication is that Hispanics are murderers, and that is bigoted. True, Hispanics are responsible for more crime than whites, but that's not bc they are Hispanic. You seem to be missing that point, which is what makes you a bigot.

Anonymous said...



Actually, when someone said, "see the names and no surprises," I called that person a bigot, And he or she is. The obvious implication is that Hispanics are murderers.

Bernie perhaps the person was more of the inclination the murderers were Hispanic and that was no surprise.

When you look for racism and bigotry you will "see" it everywhere.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I didn't "look" for it. It was a racist comment. So have been several others.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is you who are the racist. You seem to have a problem with facts, and are quick to play the "racist" card.

Anonymous said...

There's no use in arguing, Bernie, "there are none so blind as the blind who cannot see." The words they call "facts" and "examples" are the same type of code words they used in the 60's against those who fought for Civil rights in the U.S. (Back then surveys and data was used to prove how we were too wild and unruly to be integrated into mainstream society) The sad part is while these same people crow about how they AREN'T racist because they have Black or other persons of color as friends or in their family, they have no clue that, in reality, that has nothing to do with anything.


Alfonso Todd

www.alfonsotodd.com

We CAN Do Better...

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks, Alfonso, and as always, very well said.

Anonymous said...

Well ---- we CAN do better on the island of P. R. where the crime, violence and murder rate are sky high.
Alphonso maybe you know why?
Why are people on that island and Latinos in the Valley more engaged in violence?
I have no idea. But it is hard to deny that the crime & violence rates themselves are not factual.

I would indeed hope that we can do better. What is it going to take?

Bernie O'Hare said...

God, I can't believe the ignorance of these people. It is nothing to do with their ethnicity. It has everything to do with many other factors, asshole.

Anonymous said...

It's because these men are uneducated and unemployed. That's why they are so violent.

Anonymous said...

@9:03 what is the liberal view on this?
Why so much violence in the Latino community?

Bernie O'Hare said...

See above.

Anonymous said...

Very revealing to see what BOH deletes. Very thinned skinned ---- can't take opinion that challenges his worldview. Lacking in intellectual integrity or moral courage, in short, real chickenshit!

Anonymous said...

Very revealing to see what BOH deletes. Very thinned skinned ---- can't take opinion that challenges his worldview. Lacking in intellectual integrity or moral courage, in short, real chickenshit!

Bernie O'Hare said...

YI deleted one comment bc it is a clear violation of my comments policy. And now, the deletions will be more frequent.

Anonymous said...

Poverty? Latinos? Minorities?

From City rating.com and US Census:

Chester 17% white, 32% poor = above national average crime.

Allentown- 58%, 26% + Above

Wilkes Barre- 79%, 26% + Above

Scranton: 84%, 20% = Above

Altoona: 93%, 19% = Lower than

Bethlehm: 76%, 17% = Lower than.


What does it mean?


VOR

Anonymous said...

It more complex than income and employment.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:12, I can't tell you why Puerto Rico has such a high violence rate or why it seems there is a disproportionate amount of violence in the Latino community in our area and I don't believe anyone can, but I can tell you that those same comparisons can be made in other communities across the nation and be applied to Blacks, Whites, Indians etc.

What is it going to take? I believe it is going to take leadership that actually puts VALUE in its' people instead of just "tolerating" them. I can't speak about PR or the whole LV, but I know in Allentown, PA that it's a shame that if it wasn't for innovative individuals or groups, there would be no "urban" or Latino events to serve the large population. It may sound silly, but when residents are recognized by the "powers that be" with City endorsed events, fairs, workshops, etc then it can change the attitude and demeanor of the citizens. It may not stop crime as a whole but it can INSTILL PRIDE which can be a preventative measure...

We CAN Do Better...

Alfonso Todd

www.alfonsotodd.com