AP NEWS

One Dead, Two Injured In Early Morning Shooting In Scranton

May 13, 2019

SCRANTON — One man is dead and two are injured after an early morning shooting outside an after-hours club on North Main Avenue in Scranton.

The man who died is 20-year-old Parker D. Palermo, Lackawanna County Coroner Timothy Rowland said.

Police have not released the names of the other two victims — who were taken to a local hospital — or the shooter.

A man who told police he worked security for the Castle club shot the three males after 5 a.m., Chief Carl Graziano said in text messages.

Castle owner Nasser Mohammadzad said he knew the gunman but insisted the man never worked for him. He also did not reveal the gunman’s name.

The shooter was formerly in the military and works for a bail bondsman now, Graziano said.

The chief said the shooter identified himself to police as a security worker for the club. Police later learned he was not working in that capacity Sunday morning.

Two of the victims were wanted on felony charges in Wilkes-Barre, the chief said, and police are working with the Lackawanna County district attorney’s office to determine whether the shooting was justified.

Mohammadzad said the gunman would visit the club, often wearing his military uniform, and offer to help with security.

He wouldn’t describe their relationship as “friendly,” but Mohammadzad showed him respect because he served in the military, he said.

The three victims never entered the Castle on Sunday morning, Graziano said, and the shooting happened about 100 feet from the Castle’s front door in front of the U.S. Postal Service branch.

Two Scranton police officers were working an off-duty security detail at the Castle that night. Their shifts ended at 5 a.m. Sunday, and they were no longer at the scene when shots rang out, the chief said.

Later that afternoon, the smell of bleach lingered near the post office in spite of the persistent rain. Mohammadzad said he and an employee had scrubbed blood stains from the wall earlier in the day. Rust-colored patches remained, faint but noticeable enough against the white brick.

Four neighbors, who all declined to be identified for fear of retribution, said the Castle, 1826 N. Main Ave., has long been a nuisance.

Two neighbors who live in apartments across the street said they slept through the sound of gunfire Sunday morning, but that people and noise fill the street well into the early morning hours most weekends. They said police cruisers outside are a common sight.

Mohammadzad bought the former fine-dining restaurant in 1999, according to property records. For decades, the venue had been a favorite destination for wedding receptions and other formal affairs.

It closed in 1995.

The businessman, who owns several buildings in North Main Avenue’s 1800 block, turned it into an after-hours club where customers bring their own booze and avoid the state’s 2 a.m. closing time for typical bars.

He clashed with the city on staffing and security issues a few times over the last two decades. In the past, he has argued that he’s unfairly targeted and that city officials have made exaggerated accusations against him.

He defended how he operates his business and pointed to the fact that he hires off-duty police to run security. Beyond that, he takes steps to keep down the noise.

“You can’t even hear our music outside,” he said. “That’s impossible. Our walls are fully soundproof.”

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joconnell@timesshamrock.com;

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