Earlier today, Hazleton City Police responded to a call for shots fired in the area of 18th and Vine Street. According to Police, witnesses described a male Hispanic, wearing black shorts and a black top with an afro style hair fleeing the location. Officers found evidence of shots being fired into a vehicle and an occupied structure.
Hazleton Patrol Officers searched the area and at around 1pm, a male fitting the description was identified by Corporal Keith McAlarney in the area of the 700 block of West Diamond Avenue. The male tried to evade the officer and went in-between two homes being pursued by Corporal McAlarney. Numerous patrol units arrived on scene and the individual was taken into custody without incident with a 380 semi automatic pistol being recovered, which matches type of ballistics used in the earlier shooting. On Scene at the location were Chief J. Speziale, Officers, P. Bautista, M. Holguin and R. Mariano.
Hazleton Police say the firearm will be sent for ballistic and forensic testing and the male identified as 25 year old Christopher Irizarry of Hazleton is being charged with the following:
1. Persons not to possess a firearm (F1)
2. Firearms not to be carried without a license (F3)
3. Discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure (F3)
4. (2) counts Reckless endangerment (Misdemeanor)
5. Criminal Mischief (Misdemeanor)
Irizarry is being held at the Hazleton City lockup and will be arraigned on the charges.
The department will continue to saturate the area with high visibility patrols through the evening and early morning hours until day break under Chief J. Speziale.
Statement by Chief Jerry Speziale:
"The mission of the Hazleton City Police Department is to enhance the quality of life in our City by working in partnership with the community to enforce the law, preserve peace, reduce fear, and maintain order. The Hazleton Police Department is committed to accomplishing its mission of protecting the lives and property of all the citizens and visitors of Hazleton by treating everyone with compassion, courtesy, professionalism, and respect, while efficiently rendering public safety services and enforcing the laws impartially, by fighting crime both through deterrence and the relentless pursuit of criminals."