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Deadly Shooting in Hazleton  

HAZLETON -- Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale broke the news of a deadly shooting at Pine Street Park Saturday night, which he says is the first homicide in the city this year.

Multiple shell casings were found at the scene. Officials say a 20-year-old man from the area was killed in the gunfire.

"Senseless gun violence, which has happened all around the country. It's an ongoing investigation. Any help anybody can give us, we ask for your help," said Hazleton Mayor Jeff Cusat.

Neighbors say the park sees a lot of activity. They also say that commotion and arguments are common.

One neighbor emphasized that because of the violence, the park should be shut down.

The park has security cameras, but it's not clear if they're working.

Eli Matos owns The Dapper Room and says that although the deadly shooting is unfortunate, he's happy to see that Hazleton has not seen more homicides so far this year.

"Well that's surprising. That's awesome. Where I come from, the first homicide was the first week of January, so to me this is a very, very big improvement," said Matos.

Even though the deadly shooting occurred just blocks away, Matos doesn't think it will affect business.

"I think what happens at night is a completely different animal from what happens during the day, in the morning, or the early evening hours here downtown. This block is very, very livened up, especially having a lot of shops open and I think what goes down has nothing to do with random acts of violence," Matos added.

Loved ones turned out Sunday night for a candlelight vigil at James Street Park in Hazleton.

The mourners say the victim was Carlos Luna, 20.

Police have not released any more information, including whether they have any suspects.

 

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