Hazleton ‘Getting More Dangerous Than Ever’

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HAZLETON -- The city of Hazleton has been rocked by a sudden surge of violence.

Police responded to three shootings in less than one week, including two in the same neighborhood within hours of one another--one on East Green Street and one on Bennett Court.

In total, about five people have been arrested following gun violence over the past couple of days.

Christian Ashby, 19, and Michael Shirley, 22, are the latest of the five to be arrested following those crimes.

We spoke to people in the area caught in the middle of all this who hope something will be done soon to end what has become their new normal.

"Hazleton is getting more dangerous than ever!"

Cynthia Paulino lives just a few blocks away from where those shootings happened. Her kids, who she won't let outside after dark, have gotten too familiar with the sounds of gunfire.

"It was scary, very scary," said her daughter, Anniel Carrasco.

"I think they need more people...more police officers, yeah," Paulino said.

But police and city officials say they need help from the community.

"I think they have to take back their neighborhood by speaking up. If they do that then this element won't take over the neighborhood," Mayor Joe Yannuzzi said.

While police and city officials want people to speak up, many say they are scared. They still have to live in these neighborhoods where the violence seems endless.

"People are scared to talk about it. Maybe somebody saw something and they just don't want to tell somebody because they are scared something might happen to them and it's sad that we have to live in fear," said Krysti Montgomery of Hazleton.

But when people do get the courage to speak up, there's a language barrier. Almost half the city's population is Spanish-speaking, but the mayor knows of only one bilingual officer on the force.

"We need Hispanics on our police force, but the civil service won't just allow that. The only reason we could come up with was that we would give them more points if they are bilingual," Yannuzzi said.

The mayor hopes that at least one more bilingual officer will be hired during the next round of officers added to the department and that could help police and residents work together to take back the community.


  • Frank M

    I like how everyone is jumping on the “It’s the illegals fault”! bandwagon, when the names of the two shooters “Christian Ashby, 19, and Michael Shirley, 22” aren’t illegal nor hispanic… lmao.

  • jake

    Ask the MUNLEY law firm whose judge said it’s ok for illegals. Hazleton had a law that was holding landlords responsible for renting to illegals and it worked until the MUNLEYS reversed it. Also, Steven Corbett on the radio always claiming illegals didn’t change anything in Hazleto. He’s like a big Tokyo Rose propagandist. .. And of course he’s a democrat and they are the party of the illegal.

  • marie

    Why don’t the police ask the community for volunteers to help out as translators. They would need enough to cover 24/7. The police could pay for the background.checks. if enough step forward, they could even avoid using translators who live in theneighborhood where the crime took place. Perhaps even a setup where the translator can hear and be heard without being seen. This could provide a ‘safety net’ of comfort for the.volunteers. by using.volunteers who have been background.checked, they could even.get translators for other languages. What about the oriental folks? I am sure there are other languages that could be covered. By using.volunteers, there would be little to no cost to the department.
    Perhaps people on community service for minor things would be willing to help out. Each interview could be recorded with the understanding that, while a core group of trusted interpreters is built, the tapes could be subject to being checked for accuracy in translations. In this way, you will help insure proper translations.

    • Invalid

      no they should be deported back to mexico, america is for americans, you can join them if you wish i can translate to INS in english you belong there

      • Magic Mike

        Pay for the illegals to take an English course…………..
        Oh hell no, how about deporting their illegal a(s)ses…most likely if they can’t speak English they are here illegally.

      • peasnques

        If you are an immigrant, it’s incumbent upon you to learn the language.

        There are plenty of old world immigrants who came here, and after spending 12 or more hours in the mines, would go home, get washed, and then sit for a few hours in their parish basement, learning English.

        America owes it’s immigrants nothing but opportunity to build a good life. How one gets there, or the determination of what is a good life, is up to the individual.

    • Magic Mike

      Hey Dani,
      How about the Hispanics learn English, that’s a better Idea, how come my Italian , and Slovak grandparents when they came to America learned English, how come the polish, Russians and everyone else who came to America century’s ago learned English, what? are Hispanics down right stupid or effing lazy to learn English……

    • Invalid

      mental liberal you are, if i was a cop and they told me to learn spanish i would hang up my uniform and quit, its english not spanish, you come here you learn the language or get the F(u)ck out

  • peasnques

    The politicians and police in Hazelton seem to be completely ineffective in dealing with the crime.

    Is their a mechanism in place to allow the state to come in and clean up the cesspool?

      • Magic Mike

        Valfreyja you are a special kind of stupid, no everybody who doesn’t kowtow to your PC liberal Ideals are bigots or racist. news flash if they are her Illegally then they are technically CRIMINALS DUH…….

  • Mala

    At least Trump had the guts to say it like it is. Others better listen, and since O has stopped sending them back, it’s only going to get worse and worse.

  • what next

    this plan is in the works for over 100 years, its not the poor people …it the elites tearing apart our constitution.and our rights. and you thought chemtrails were not real…cause you thought they love you..seek the LORD JESUS and pray.

    • Don

      Pray? Really? Are you serious? Praying is paramount to what the police are able to do about the crime. Leave the fairy-tale thought process to the cartoons, this needs to be handled by real people

    • peasnques

      They need to gather up the criminals.

      Think about what you wrote. Why would a criminal obey gun laws when he or she doesn’t obey others? Put the Cool Aid pitcher down, and slowly walk away.

    • marie

      Heck no. Ship the illegals back to where they came from. As for me, I don’t live in Hazelton, but shop there often. But when I do, I am armed, LEGALLY ARMED, and WILL defend myself and my family if I need to.

      • Frank M

        You do realize the names of the two shooters in this artilce “Christian Ashby, 19, and Michael Shirley, 22” are neither illegal immigrants nor hispanic, right?

        I swear this comment section is filled with people who lack any reading comprehension.

  • Scoot

    I worked in Hazleton in around 1990, it was a really nice place. Now when I come to visit I can’t believe my eyes as to what a nice city has transformed into. Time to close the borders. My forefathers came to this country, they found work, they learned english, taught their children english, had pride in working for everything they got. They didn’t look for a handout or what they could steal.

  • M

    ““We need Hispanics on our police force, but the civil service won’t just allow that. The only reason we could come up with was that we would give them more points if they are bilingual,” Yannuzzi said.”

    This is just about the stupidest thing I have ever heard. “The only reason we could come up with” to hire employees with the skills you want is to give preference in hiring to people with the skills you want? And this moron was elected,

    • Ugh

      Mayor Yanuzzi has been dipping into the Grecian Formula once too often. I think all that hair dye has seeped into his brain.

  • Magic Mike

    We should be giving out medals every time a Hispanic or Black shorts each other. it’s called thinning the herd.
    Mayor Joe Yannuzzi having one Spanish speaking officer isn’t the problem. the problem in a nut shell is the USA started down this road in the late 60’s of having Spanish on everything you buy so these idiots don’t have to learn English. The problem is Liberals and Democrats allowing our borders to be wide open and all this trash coming here, if half of the population is Hispanic now, and most speak Spanish then they are probably not legal Americans.
    Hispanics born here probably speak both. The major problem is the Hispanic’s do not want to assimilate into American culture like the immigrants that came before them… NO Mayor Joe Yannuzzi the problem isn’t just one Spanish speaking officer, the problem is the USA/Democrats kowtowing to these third world troglodytes, who refuse to assimilate and should be deported…..

  • John T

    This is what happens when a country goes over the top with being politically correct. These individuals play the PC game to their advantage and use it against normal, every day working members of society. Stop the PC madness and call it how it is! That does not make you a racist or bigot in any way, BUT that’s what over the top PC-ers will call you. If your views don’t agree with the current administration, the liberal/extremist activists, or whatever group plans on being flavor of the month for the liberal media, best keep them to yourself because NOBODY stands up for us. The majority is being systematically silenced and eliminated. Policiticans on both sides won’t defend us because they risk political suicide because of these people and groups. We need a leader who won’t back down from anyone!

  • Paul

    Remember when it was called the “Wild, Wild, West”? Everyone was packing and now in Northeastern Pennsylvania in Hazleton you need to be “packing” just to go to the grocery store.

  • Mountain Man of Campbell's Ledge

    I Make the best spears in the county just give 90.000 contract. Well its what i can do.

  • Steve from hazleton

    Hazleton is a lost cause by far the worst small city in Pa (if your not from here don’t come here)

    • Ponder this my friends of Nepa

      Steve from Hazleton said:
      “Hazleton is a lost cause by far the worst small city in Pa (if your not from here don’t come here)”

      Steve, I must remind you Williamsport is no better, since the low life, ow IQ ghetto trash from Philly invaded Williamsport, there is nothing but crime, drugs, assault, murder, shootings, etc.

      I love pulling up to a STOP sign, and having a thug from Philly walking to cross, but looking at me like he wants to kill me, or challenge me to a fight for no valid reason !

      I love my Adult daughter going in a store, and having one of those ghetto losers eye her and rape her with their eyes as she walks in !

      Concealed Firearm Permit is the best way to go, if you even want to walk to your mailbox !

      White, Hispanic, Black makes no difference, trash is trash !

      • peasnques

        “Concealed Firearm Permit is the best way to go, if you even want to walk to your mailbox !”

        ….and practice using your weapon. Don’t let the first time you need it be the first time you’ve shot it. Become as handy with your weapon as you are with your dinner fork.

        Those times in which we could rely on others for our safety are past.

      • matt

        Williamsport is nowhere near the level of hazelton. Hazelton has more crime and shootings than williamsport and williamsport is two to three times larger. Williamsport has industry, tourism, and alot of attractions. What does hazelton have??? Harry you pull it? That’s the best the have. Don’t ever put hazelton in the same Category as another city unless it’s Detroit or newark.

  • verysad

    “Getting” more dangerous? It’s been for quite sometime! And maybe people should be required to speak English once they get here, to start learning the language! The violence will continue to be endless if the justice system continues to fail us never mind allowing immigrants of a criminal nature just mosey on in here…What is needed is for the community and the police force to form bond that is a force to reckon with as formidable as the gangs themselves.

  • it'[s all down hill from here

    By the looks of things, Hazleton airport must now have direct flights coming in from Mogadishu, Somalia. It’s practically a third world country environment.

  • fed up

    I’m pretty sure getting a green card here required that you could speak and understand some amount to of English maybe I’m work.

    • Magic Mike

      You are 100% correct. Obama and the DNC have done everything in their power to make sure America becomes a 3rd world nation like the trash coming over our borders and moving to Hazleton.

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