MILTON — Milton Police Department Chief Curt Zettlemoyer believes the violence which unfolded Sunday on borough streets is not a reflection of the community at large.
Three suspects were taken into custody shortly after the 3:30 p.m. incident in which a 24-year-old man was shot in the 10 block of Elm Street.
The suspects were arraigned Monday morning on attempted homicide and related counts. The men charged in the case are: Ricky Pearson, 22, of Sunbury; Deionte Sherrell, 23, of Erie; and Antonio Carpenter, 24, of Highspire.
Police have not yet identified the victim. Zettlemoyer said he remains hospitalized at a local facility.
According to court documents filed by Milton Police Department Officers Jason Engleman and Todd Ulrich, the incident started to unfold at 3 p.m. when an unidentified witness said he and the 24-year-old victim were at an apartment in the 10 block of Broadway. Carpenter and Sherrell arrived at the apartment to retrieve a beanie hat the witness said he took from Carpenter the previous weekend.
Following an altercation there, Carpenter, Sherrell and Pearson allegedly approached the two as they were walking along Elm Street.
According to court documents, the witness reported fighting with Sherrill and Carpenter as they exited a car. As the witness ran away from the scene, he heard four or five shots being fired and saw the victim falling to the ground.
The three suspects allegedly got into a car and fled from the scene. They were apprehended a short time later along Route 405, south of Milton.
As Ulrich and Engleman arrived on Elm Street, they reported finding the victim with two bullet wounds to the leg and two to the torso area.
“Pressure was immediately applied to the wounds until EMS arrived on scene,” Engleman and Ulrich wrote, in court documents. “Police did speak with the victim briefly, who indicated that a Ricky was the individual who shot him.”
Court documents said the victim was transported to the hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. He sustained severed arteries in his leg, a broken femur, a hole in the intestine and has a bullet lodged in his spine.
Zettlemoyer on Tuesday lauded his officers, and those from assisting departments, for their handling of the incident.
“They immediately attempted to provide life-saving efforts, and at the same time relayed information that was instrumental in the subsequent apprehension (of the suspects),” Zettlemoyer said.
Milton police issued a statement Sunday night which noted officers from the Buffalo Valley Regional, Watsontown, Point Township, Mifflinburg and Selinsgrove police departments assisted, along with Pennsylvania State Police and the Milton Fire Department.
“This was a perfect scenario where the information that was initially received by officers at dispatch was relayed to responding units,” Zettlemoyer said. “Everybody worked together and it was a best-case scenario of a worst-case incident.
“It was a coordinated response with multiple agencies,” he continued. “It was a true testament to the guys who were working that day and responded.”
Milton Police Department Cpl. Dan Embeck said on Sunday the altercation which led to the shooting started at the same apartment building that a March drug sweep was centered around.
In that incident, 160 members of law enforcement fanned out across Milton to take into custody many of the 22 individuals indicted on federal charges stemming from two operations which were trafficking narcotics from Puerto Rico to Milton and several other locations.
On Tuesday, Zettlemoyer said there is no indication that the individuals involved in Sunday’s shooting were connected to the March drug sweep.
“These guys are true criminals,” Zettlemoyer said, of the three suspects apprehended after the shooting. “They are a criminal element you don’t want walking around your community.”
Zettlemoyer said members of his department will continue to be aggressive in patrolling the community.
“The visibility of the police is going to continue,” he said. “We are going to continue to be pro-active with police efforts. We are continuing to move forward in that way.”
He said the investigation into the shooting continues to evolve.
“(The shooting) is not a reflection on the community,” Zettlemoyer said. “We have a good community with good residents.”
Preliminary hearings for the three suspects had not yet been scheduled as of late Tuesday afternoon.