Whitehall-Coplay Press

Sunday, October 21, 2018
PRESS PHOTOS BY SCOTT M. NAGYWhitehall Township Police Department, Lehigh Valley Mall security and other local police departments respond to a shooting at the mall around 7:10 p.m. June 1. Copyright - Scott M. Nagy PRESS PHOTOS BY SCOTT M. NAGYWhitehall Township Police Department, Lehigh Valley Mall security and other local police departments respond to a shooting at the mall around 7:10 p.m. June 1. Copyright - Scott M. Nagy
Shoppers wait for the OK from police to return to their vehicles and leave the parking lot. Copyright - Scott M. Nagy Shoppers wait for the OK from police to return to their vehicles and leave the parking lot. Copyright - Scott M. Nagy
Members of the police department search for evidence in the area of the shooting. Copyright - Scott M. Nagy Members of the police department search for evidence in the area of the shooting. Copyright - Scott M. Nagy

Police continue search for suspect in mall shooting

Wednesday, June 6, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS Special to The Press in Police Log

A suspect in the June 1 shooting of two people at the Lehigh Valley Mall was still at large nearly a week after the incident.

Whitehall Township Police Chief Michael Marks said police continue to look for the person who allegedly shot two men around 7:10 p.m. in the mall parking lot after a fight occurred inside Macy’s. There was no update as of press time Wednesday.

Marks said two victims are being treated for gunshot wounds, which he said are not life threatening. On June 4, Marks said one victim remained in the hospital in stable condition, and the other suffered less serious injuries.

He declined to identify the victims.

Marks said the suspected gunman poses no danger to the community, adding the shooter and victims knew each other.

“This was not a random act,” Marks said.

On the evening of June 1, Whitehall Township police had cordoned off a section of the mall’s parking lot near Macy’s, but by the following morning, the mall was back open for business with normal hours.

On June 4, the only sign of the shooting was a cardboard panel covering broken glass on an entry door into the first floor of Macy’s.

Lehigh Valley Mall co-owner Simon Property Group issued a statement through spokeswoman Megan Hakes.

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our shoppers and employees,” the statement said. “We are grateful for the swift response to this incident by our security team and the Whitehall Police Department. As this is a police matter, all further inquiries should be directed to the Whitehall Police Department.”

At a late-night news conference June 1 with Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin, Marks said police were investigating the shooting and hoped to “have a very quick conclusion to this case.”

He said anyone who witnessed the incident or has video footage should call Whitehall police at 610-437-3042.

Marks thanked Pennsylvania State Police and the police departments of Catasauqua, Allentown and South Whitehall Township for assisting.

He said Whitehall police regularly patrol the mall.

“We maintain a steady presence down here,” he said. “We look to make sure the public is safe at all times.”

Marks called the shooting an “isolated incident.”

Whitehall Township also released information about the shooting on Twitter prompting many people to respond by tweeting concerns about gun violence using the hashtag #shootatweet.

The #shootatweet initiative, started in 2016 by a California app creator, scans the Internet for shooting incidents across the country and sends tweets to state Senate and Congress members, urging them to take action against gun violence. The hashtag has appeared in more than 2.5 million Twitter timelines.

Marks said another incident early in the morning June 2, in which an Allentown man was arrested for possessing a stolen handgun and firing it into the air, was not related to the June 1 shooting.

Shawn Tomsic, 26, was charged with receiving stolen property, altering marks of identification and recklessly endangering another person, after he allegedly shot the gun into the air repeatedly while people were in the area at 900 Mickley Run, Whitehall.