Suspect in Tamaqua Shooting Arrested in Hazleton

HAZLETON -- U.S. Marshals and police arrested a man in Hazleton wanted for shooting a man in October.

A day after the fatal shooting of a U.S. Marshal in Harrisburg, police in our area are doing everything they can to keep first responders safe.

Every day the men and women who wear a badge put their lives on the line. Even after losing one of their own in a fatal shooting in Harrisburg, U.S. Marshals alongside officers from our area had to go back to work in order to keep the public safe.

Rafael Valdez-Torres was led into his arraignment at the magistrate's office in Tamaqua. He is charged with shooting Joseph Becker in the chest back in October.

This arrest comes after the fatal shooting of a U.S. Marshal on Thursday in Harrisburg.

In Tamaqua, Cpl. Henry Woods was the arresting officer. He says it's his duty to protect others by standing in the face of danger.

"It's part of the job nobody like to think about it but that's a possibility every day throughout the United States," said Cpl. Woods.

Police say Valdez-Torres shot another man in the chest on West Rowe Street in Tamaqua over drug money.

Hazleton police say they were alerted by U.S. Marshals about the location of Valdez-Torres. That led them to West Diamond Avenue in Hazleton.

After organizing a special operation group, officers were able to put cuffs on Valdez-Torres.

Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale says the safety of his officers depends on their preparedness.

"Make sure that we are tactically sound," said the chief.  "I want to make sure that we use the SWAT team, SOG team, and make sure we are prepared because in a split second it can all go wrong."

Chief Speziale says officers face the unknown every single time they put on the uniform.

"We do not just go to doors and take a chance, maybe somebody is there, maybe we can catch him on the sidewalk. It doesn't work that way. We make sure we are technically sound when we go through those doors."

Valdez-Torres is locked up. His next court appearance is set for next month.


  • trucker

    One less person in the comments section complaining about how bad Trump voters are.
    Thank you Hazleton PD :)

  • Sad Times

    Damn trash has ruined NEPA in my opinion ! So sick of these low IQ – animalistic shooters ! Trigger happy wreckless clowns putting the public at risk ! Is this ever going to get better ? So glad I knew NEPA before 1988 CHERISHED Memory…. Oh how I long for the old days !

    • Cull The Herd

      No, it is not going to ever get better. When the Cash For Trash exchange began, the floodgates opened and smaller cities discovered a mountain of cash to be had by exchanging their safe, hometown environments for accepting the “underprivileged” welfare recipients in the larger cities. Because welfare is a career choice and enormous industry, more State and Federal funds funnel into these once-pleasant places to support these people.

      No. It’s not going to get better. Ever. It’s only going to get worse until someone cuts down that Welfare Money Tree.

  • Siren droolers

    Can Berrios or Wayne S. or somebody tell me if the Skook street roamers are all Irish coal miner descendants or are the Hispanic population starting to fall victim as well?

  • Nervous nelly

    You people who live in Luzerne and Skuylkill county must be some pretty tough folks. How do you do it? I wouldn’t even dare to leave my house without a police escort. I hope those brown people from other countries don’t move into my town.

  • Hmmm

    Anyone think that, in actuality, Joe Madden only comes back to Hazleton to molest collies and borough council?


    the 19 year old mayor needs to stop crime here. There Is drugs and blight everywhere in Tamaqua and they are worried about people paining a mural at a train station. typical delusional skookies.

  • Don't Call Me Shirley

    But, you know, this guy has some rockin’ eyebrows, doesn’t he? Very metro-sexual. Like he’s from Philly or Camden, NJ, or something, right?

    • Surely, you jest

      Jane Doe you are spot on. “Unnamed sources” might have been a better option, but I’d be talking to a litigation attorney, RIGHT NOW, if it had been me who had been named as the snitch. She, her multiple kids, and family members will be looking over their shoulders for the rest of their lives.

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