Monday, December 03, 2012

Morganelli Reacts to a Weekend of Carnage

DA John Morganelli
After a rare weekend of gun violence that started in South Bethlehem and ended Easton, leaving two people dead and five wounded, District Attorney John Morganelli conducted a news conference on Monday to provide a progress report on both investigations and assure the public that these are not random shootings.

Puerto Rican Beneficial Society shooting

Yolanda Morales, died early Saturday morning during a hail of gunfire, down the street from the Puerto Rican Beneficial Society. Five others are hospitalized. Six people were involved in a shooting incident that started over what Morganelli calls an "incidental, minor" contact. "It spilled over into the streets, and obviously went way too far," stated the prosecutor. He has no evidence that drugs were involved.

The argument that led to the shooting started inside the Puerto Rican Beneficial Society, a club located at 205 E. Third Street. Morganelli explained that the club had an "open night" that evening. The six people involved in the shooting, four from the Easton area and two from Allentown, were not members of the club. These Easton and Allentown factions are responsible for the thirty-bullet fusillade that occurred.

The club has a metal detector and secuirity personnel, so Morganelli theorizes that the guns were retrieved outside, after the two factions had left.

Yolanda Morales, who was with the four-person group from Easton, actually ran towards the gunfire when the shooting started. There were three shooters. At this point, it is believes that one of the Easton faction picked up a gun, possible in defense of himself or others. Except for Morales, the other participants were male.

Two weapons have been retrieved, a .45 and a .40. One was found by police in the street. The other was picked up and brought inside the club, where it was later found by police.

It is believed there were three shooters, one of whom is cooperating with police. According to Morganelli, the two individuals from Allentown have a criminal history.

According to Morganelli, police are still interviewing witnesses, but he expects to be able to make arrests by the end of the week. "We're not there 100%," he cautioned, noting that they only get one chance and have to be right when they charge.

One of the non-shooters wounded in this melee, according to Morganelli, might be paralyzed.

Morganelli has no reason to believe that the Puerto Rican Beneficial Society is a nuisance bar. "It's not on my radar," he stated, noting that he has moved swiftly to close bars he considers troublesome. He added that officials at the club have been cooperative and have provided surveillance video. "It's been there for fifty years," he added. "I get more complaints about Starters," he said, referring to sports bar on Bethlehem's south side.

At this point, it is undetermined whether the guns used were legally purchased or whether the shooters had licenses to carry firearms. "It's very rare that a criminal gets a license to carry," noted the prosecutor.

Wyandotte Street shooting

A few hours after the shooting at the Puerto Rican Beneficial Club, Shelton Powell opened fire on three persons sitting on a porch along Wyandotte Street. According to Morganelli, this incident is totally unrelated.

Easton shooting

On Sunday evening, a NYC man was shot to death on an Easton south side sidewalk, giving that City its fifth murder this year. Police in that matter have much less to go on, according to Morganelli. But he believes it is likely driug-related. "A lot of this, in Easton especially, is drug-related," he stated.

Are Citizens Safe?

Morganelli wants citizens to know that they are safe, whether in Easton or Bethlehem, before midnight. After that, there's what he calls "the night people." He described a culture of young males who "have guns and aren't afraid to use them." Witnesses themselves are "street people" who refuse to cooperate and must be brought before a grand jury.

"When it gets past midnight, it's not a good idea to be walking anywhere," the DA cautions.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's alcohol related, always is!!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, let's ban alcohol!

Anonymous said...

Acting under direct orders from allentowns king and token prez and sidekick moto¿ This is a practice that is sure to not only have the nations cistern look like the eppicenter of crime, but the hole of the lehighvalley¿

You go king palumpa¿

Bill Coker said...

I'm 70 years old and have to be home by midnight or fear for my life? How about we concentrate our police on these bozo's rather than borderline dui's, etc. Speaking of that, I took the senior citizen safe driving course and was told 40% of all accidents involved alcohol. That means 60% were caused by sober people. Those folks are dangerous.

Bill Coker said...

Bernie,

By the way, I'm not trying to minimize the dangers of alcohol abuse. Just attempting to be humorous.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Understood. Let's get those sober people!

Anonymous said...

It has less to do with guns and booze than it does with a general lack of respect for the value of life - casual abortion, assisted suicide, endless bloody wars. Snuffing life is easily defended and largely socially acceptable. Guns and booze are symptoms of the larger disease.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to see Mr.Morganelli has told the citizens of the Lehigh Valley to stay in their homes.Finally a public official has the courage to warn the citizens to stay away from dangerous area's

Anonymous said...

I saw this in the one of the Patches this morning and just felt ill. Ignorance, anger and guns makes for a volatile mix and the thing that's particularly dismaying is that all of this came about over a stupid beef about nothing. Our society has enshrined ignorance and violence as the top things and one only need to take a look at media to see that. So what played out on the streets is a mirror of that and a young lady looses her life over nothing. That's the real tragedy.

Anonymous said...

i WONDER IF THESE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE WHO ROBBED THE pi cENTER AT cANTELMI'S fRIDAY NITE.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't know, but doubt it. They were at the club on an "open" night to see a televised fight, but they themselves ended up fighting.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Finally a public official has the courage to warn the citizens to stay away from dangerous area's"

It's refreshingly honest, but Morganelli explained it was actually his own father's advice.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of violence, I am very surprised that there is virtually no voice from the Lehigh Valley Syrian community regarding the turmoil and carnage in Syria. Seems like there were some young supporters of the rebellion early last year, however it seems as if the elders put a stop that. Are most LV Syrians pro-Assad? If not, I would have expected demands for more intervention.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, did that post just go poof. Is that a subject not to be discussed on the blog?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Your comment did not go "poof." It went into my spam folder. But your comment is off-topic. This has nothing to do with Syria or Assad. If you'd like to write a story, speak to some of the Syrian community, write an essay and send it to me with your name.

Anonymous said...

Bernie
This quote should be the front page headline.

Anonymous said...

We really need to look at ending prohibition. Needless deaths caused by gang wars just like in the 1920's south side. Exactly the same.

But no, Pennsylvania won't even take the step toward medical marijuana let along legalization. The legislature won't even discuss it. That loud sucking sound is your tax dollars going to prosecute and incarcerate. Sllluuuurp.

Anonymous said...

I'm 70 years old and have to be home by midnight or fear for my life? How about we concentrate our police on these bozo's rather than borderline dui's, etc. Speaking of that, I took the senior citizen safe driving course and was told 40% of all accidents involved alcohol. That means 60% were caused by sober people. Those folks are dangerous.

Yeah, that's brilliant. Lets not worry about DUIs. Christ, no wonder we make no progress.

Anonymous said...

IF the DA knows that "it's not a good idea to be walking anywhere" and that there are men in the streets with guns, why aren't the cops out cracking skulls and arresting people with illegal handguns?

Anonymous said...

How comforting to know that the DA,The Police and all other law enforcement agencies know that after midnight it's not sfae to be out and the best they can do is tell the citizens not to be out,,well Mr. DA as a law enforcement person I say it's time to go back to old school..TURN US loose and I guarantee IT WILL SOON BECOME SAFE AGAIN!!!!

Bill Coker said...

8:54

Apparently you don't have a great sense of humor. Do you take everything said that seriously. I even explained it in the next post.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"How comforting to know that the DA,The Police and all other law enforcement agencies know that after midnight it's not sfae to be out and the best they can do is tell the citizens not to be out,"

Blah, bah. I prefer the honesty to city mayors like Pawlowski, who will claim crime is just a "perception" problem.

And it's nothing new. As John himself explained, he used to hear that from his dad.