WILKES-BARRE — Sunday morning grief rocked the congregation at the Mount Zion Baptist Church.
The 24-year-old man who was fatally shot in a backyard a few blocks away was Vaughn Kemp. Church members said that Kemp and his family had been involved with the church since the victim was a teenager.
Church usher William Montgomery was a mentor to the young father.
“We would see him and his brother throughout the community, they wasn’t no troubled kids or nothing like that,” he said.
Police said the shooting happened at 1:20 a.m. Sunday in the backyard of 174 South Grant Street.
Neighbors said the backyard and house was packed with people attending a party, and when the shots rang out the crowd scrambled to get out of the way.
Neighbor Howard Lee Hughes saw the commotion.
“It was ridiculous over there. There were a lot of people. I heard the two pops, and then I walked out and heard the three pops,” said Hughes.
Leaning out a window of number 174, Felix Rivera said he was dancing at the party and assumed the shots were firecrackers. He said he did not realize someone had been shot until the police showed up. He did not believe Kemp was a guest at the party, but thought the victim was chased there when a fight started a few houses away.
No arrests have been made in the case as of Sunday evening. Police continue to investigate and interview witnesses.