AP NEWS

1 Arrested, 1 Sought In W-B Drive-by

February 27, 2019
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1 Arrested, 1 Sought In W-B Drive-by

WILKES-BARRE — Two men are facing charges alleging they conspired to commit a drive-by shooting that ended with bullets riddling a Lockhart Street home, nearly hitting two women.

Jyzah Michael Morgan, 21, was arraigned Tuesday morning on charges alleging he drove the gunman to the scene of the shooting, which police have linked to an ongoing feud between “gang-associated” people in the area.

Authorities, meanwhile, identified the alleged gunman as Onje Crowder, 19, last known address of 37 McCarragher St. Crowder, whom authorities described as “armed and dangerous,” remained at large and was wanted on a warrant charging him with aggravated assault.

“The flagrant and persistent gunfire recently on the streets of Wilkes-Barre frightened residents across the city and the rest of Luzerne County,” District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said in a statement. “The arrest of Mr. Morgan and the charges filed against Mr. Crowder represent swift and decisive action — an important first step in this ongoing investigation.”

According to the complaint, police were dispatched to 56 Lockhart St. at 11:15 a.m. Feb. 18 and arrived to find numerous bullet holes in the exterior wall of the double-block home, which was occupied by six people including an 8-year-old child.

There were spent 9mm shell casings in the street, and two occupants, Sheeneka Stokes and Kristine Hagen, reported they had been sitting in the front room when shots rang out, the complaint said.

One round came through the window and hit the wall just above the couch where they had been sitting, police said.

Surveillance video showed a silver Mitsubishi Lancer driving past the home while the front passenger yelled at the occupants of the home, according to the complaint.

A short time later, the vehicle drove by again and the same passenger pointed a gun out the window, firing on the home, police said.

Police discovered the occupants of the car had entered the United Mart on Carey Avenue prior to the shooting. Police said they were able to identify Crowder as the front passenger who was yelling and firing the gun.

Police then searched a vehicle database for cars in the area that matched the description of the drive-by vehicle.

 

That search led them to Morgan, who lives at 29 Fulton St., Pittston.

The complaint said police confirmed Morgan was the driver by comparing the surveillance footage to his driver’s license photo.

When officers went to his house, they found the Mitsubishi Lancer with its rear spoiler removed in what police say was an attempt to change the appearance of the car.

Police arrested Morgan by conducting a traffic stop when he exited his house. In his car, they found a gun between the driver’s seat and console, according to the complaint.

Morgan is charged with aggravated assaulted, discharging a firearm into an occupied structure, tampering with evidence and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault.

Magisterial District Judge Matthew C. Christopher arraigned Morgan on Tuesday morning and ordered him jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with bail set at $100,000. A preliminary hearing was set for March 14.

Prosecutors said the warrant on Crowder charges him with aggravated assault, discharging a weapon into an occupied structure and reckless endangerment.

The shooting was part of a series of high-profile violent attacks to hit the city during an eight-day period earlier this month, including shots fired at 42 Dagobert St. and in the area of Dana and High streets. In addition, a man was shot outside 253 Bowman St. on Feb. 16.

Wilkes-Barre police Chief Joseph Coffay has said he believes the shootings are related and part of an ongoing feud between “gang-associated” people.

Anyone with information on Crowder’s whereabouts is asked to call police at 570-208-0911.

Contact the writer:

jhalpin@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2058