Update: Second Wilkes-Barre Shooting Victim Dies
WILKES-BARRE — The Luzerne County Coroner’s office confirmed Friday morning that both men gunned down on Scott Street have died from their injuries.
According to an official with the coroner’s office, Jamel Martin, 20, died at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Thursday afternoon and that an autopsy has not yet been scheduled.
According to authorities, Leroy Smith, 42, was pronounced dead about two hours after he was shot in the chest on Scott Street early Thursday morning, and an autopsy is scheduled for Friday.
Police in Wilkes-Barre continue their investigation into a broad daylight shooting outside a business along Coal Street, as well as a double shooting 10 hours earlier where two men died from their injuries.
Emergency crews swarmed the 200 block of Coal Street around 12:15 p.m, after a man was shot on the sidewalk along the busy thoroughfare.
Paramedics found the victim bleeding on the front porch of Alan Grocery and Deli and rushed the man to Geisinger Wyoming Valley, where authorities said he was listed in critical condition.
Maurice Hill told Newswatch 16 that he moved to the Heights section of Wilkes-Barre from the Bronx three years ago and that he believes people moving from bigger cities are bringing bigger problems to the Diamond City.
“Drugs and gangs; the most problems you see all the time,” said Hill. “I mean, they come out at night and destroy everything and sleep all day. It’s terrible!”
About ten hours earlier and half-a-mile away, an officer patrolling Scott Street heard gunfire and found two men lying in the middle of the street around 2:30 a.m.
According to file reports, Smith was arrested in 2011 for allegedly shooting a toilet inside a bar on Scott Street in Wilkes-Barre.
Salavantis said all available resources are working on the shootings cases, and that investigators have no information to release about people or vehicles seen leaving either shooting scene.
Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch Coalition President Charlotte Raup said her group is looking for more vigilant volunteers to monitor local neighborhoods and that she’s hoping to see stiffer jail sentences for people arrested and convicted on drug and weapons charges.
“They have to go to jail longer. They’re putting them away for two years. It’s not long enough,” said Raup. “People want to get out of Wilkes-Barre. People want to leave; that’s not the answer. You have to stop and you have to band together. It’s going to happen everywhere, not just Wilkes-Barre.”
Anyone with information is urged to call detectives at Wilkes-Barre Police Headquarters at 570-826-8106.
Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton released the following written statement late Thursday afternoon;
“These disturbing acts of violence have no place in our community. We will not tolerate it as we continue to combat violence in our streets. I have informed Chief Gerard Dessoye that he will have every available resource at his disposal to find those responsible in today’s shootings. Both investigations are in the preliminary stages and we are working closely with the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office and Pennsylvania State Police. Anyone with information about either shooting is asked to contact the Wilkes-Barre Police Department immediately.
Although both shootings occurred within hours of each other, it is too early to speculate about a possible connection between the two. We are confident that both of these shootings were not random acts of violence. Given the proximity of these shootings to one another, I know that many city residents may be shocked, angered, and afraid tonight. The general public should not feel anundue risk of harm. I want to reassure them that this administration’s top priority is to keep you and your family safe. Our police officers are on the streets daily protecting your property and ensuring your safety. That commitment will never waver.
As one of the first members of the Mayor’s Coalition Against Illegal Guns for many years, I was encouraged by the president’s legislative package unveiled yesterday to curb violence in our streets. Universal background checks on all gun sales and restricting the bullet capacity of magazines are common sensereforms that will save lives not just in Wilkes-Barre but across Pennsylvania and the country. Today, I would like to add my name in support of those measures.”