LEHIGH COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin announced April 19 a juvenile has been charged in relation to a shooting which occurred April 8 in Lower Macungie Township.
The juvenile, age 16, is charged by written allegation filed in juvenile court with involuntary manslaughter, a misdemeanor of the first degree. Involuntary manslaughter is not an intentional killing, but one where the circumstances indicate the perpetrator acted in a reckless or grossly negligent manner. Jurisdiction for this case is in juvenile court because it is a misdemeanor offense, alleged to have been committed by a juvenile.
According to a media release April 8, at approximately 3:31 p.m., Pennsylvania State Police responded to a residence in the 3900 block of Orchard Road, Lower Macungie Township, for a report of a shooting. Upon arrival, troopers found the victim, Chris Perez, 17, of Allentown, suffering from a gunshot wound to his left side. He was transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, where he was pronounced dead 4:37 p.m. An autopsy was performed, and Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim determined the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the torso.
The media release stated the juvenile and four acquaintances, one of whom was the victim, were in the basement of the Orchard Road residence. While in the basement, the victim asked the juvenile to show him a shotgun, which the juvenile did. One of the witnesses present heard the victim ask the juvenile if the gun was loaded and the juvenile responded that it was not.
The victim handled the weapon and returned it to the juvenile. The juvenile then allegedly waved the gun around and leveled it at the victim. The weapon was fired. According to a witness, the juvenile appeared shocked and immediately dropped the shotgun.
The weapon is an Ithaca 12-gauge shotgun and was found at the scene. The gun contained one spent shell casing still chambered. The safety was in the “off” position.The shotgun has been identified as belonging to an adult resident of the property.
Martin commended the Pennsylvania State Police, Troop M, for their thorough investigation of this unfortunate case.
As in every case, the fact that a written allegation has been filed is merely an accusation; and the juvenile is presumed innocent unless and until he is adjudicated delinquent.