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Suspected Freeland Park Shooter Arrested

FREELAND, Pa. -- Police have arrested a man for a shooting in Freeland early Monday.

State Troopers arrested Brandon Gambardella, 18, of West Hazleton, after a 17-year-old male was shot in Freeland Borough Park around 2 a.m. Monday.

Court papers indicate this all happened because of a drug deal between the victim and the alleged shooter.

According to arrest papers, the victim arranged to sell cocaine to Gambardella near the park in Freeland around 2 a.m.

Police say that the victim didn't have cocaine so he attempted to sell Gambardella a mixture of drywall shavings and baking soda.

Newswatch 16 spoke to people who visit the park often.

"It used to be a good town, but not anymore. It just keeps getting worse and it's sad," said Colette Bodner.

The arrest papers go on to say that Gambardella got out of the car and chased the victim and then a shot was fired.

"People don't have any respect anymore. The kids, they just do as they please," Bodner said.

The victim is in critical condition in the hospital. Police have not released his name yet.

People who live around where this shooting happened are wondering why the park doesn't have more security.

"At night, this is too dark over here. They should light this area up because I hear things at night, you know? Like I said, this should be lit up. Over by the building it's lit up, but over here it's total darkness," said a neighbor.

"We have a small town. If we could only have the money to have full-time police, that would keep out the riff-raff or whatever was going on," Carol Fisher said.

Gambardella is charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault. He is being held in the Luzerne County Prison without bail.

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