Erie police search for more suspects in shooting that wounded 14-year-old on Cherry Street

Erie police are searching for the occupants of a stolen SUV in their investigation into a Wednesday afternoon shootout in a westside neighborhood that wounded a 14-year-old boy.

Police took five adults and a 15-year-old boy into custody following the shooting at West 29th and Cherry streets and filed criminal charges against the 15-year-old and one of the adults.

Investigators said Thursday they are still searching for the people who were in a brown Kia Sorento that they believe was involved in the shootout.

The vehicle was reported stolen from a location on Erie's west side shortly after the shooting occurred on Wednesday at about 4:35 p.m., Erie police Deputy Chief Rick Lorah said Thursday.

Police found the Kia unoccupied on Erie's east side on Thursday morning, Lorah said. Police will serve a search warrant on the vehicle as part of the investigation, he said.

Charged in Wednesday's shooting are Erie residents Shmad Page, 15, and Orguna L. Sanders Jr., 20, according to Erie police and online court docket information. Both were arraigned Thursday morning on charges including felony counts of aggravated assault, discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure, carrying a firearm without a license and criminal mischief.

Police charged Page as an adult under the Fisher Bill, a state law that permits a juvenile accused of committing violent crime to be charged as an adult.

Page was placed in the Edmund L. Thomas Adolescent Center and Sanders was placed in the Erie County Prison following their arraignments, according to online court records. Bond was set at $75,000 for each.

Investigators accuse Page and Sanders of returning fire when at least one occupant of the Kia fired gunshots at them during the encounter. The 14-year-old who was shot was with a group that included Page and Sanders, according to Lorah.

The 14-year-old boy was shot in the neck and was taken to UPMC Hamot before being transferred to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. He was last reported to be in stable condition, according to Erie police.

The boy was conscious and alert and was able to speak to the police after the shooting, Lorah said.

Gunfire erupts in westside neighborhood

Erie police officers converged on Cherry Street, between West 29th Street and Stafford Avenue, after the shooting was reported and searched for suspects and collected guns that had been tossed into yards. When police arrived, witnesses told officers they saw several people with weapons running through the area and into houses, Police Chief Dan Spizarny said.

A group of officers, their guns drawn, flooded into a house at 2917 Cherry St. at 5 p.m. and flushed several people out.

As they investigate a shooting in the area, Erie police converge on a house on Cherry Street, just south of West 29th Street and near Stafford Avenue, on Wednesday.
As they investigate a shooting in the area, Erie police converge on a house on Cherry Street, just south of West 29th Street and near Stafford Avenue, on Wednesday.

"In the process of checking the paths that they ran, we have located several handguns that have been discarded into yards, and we are going to be talking to a lot of witnesses and suspects," Spizarny said late Wednesday afternoon.

Spizarny said police had secured several houses in the area and were getting search warrants for them.

Six people detained following the shooting, including Page and Sanders, were taken to the Erie police station for questioning following the incident.

Police started to clear the area around 5:40 p.m. Wednesday.

Guns recovered

Erie police recovered two guns from the shooting scene and will be collecting forensic evidence from them and will check on the ownership of the weapons, Lorah said Thursday.

Investigators also recovered surveillance video from a number of residential and business security cameras in the area of the shooting and are reviewing the footage, Lorah said. Much of the incident was captured on video, he said.

According to Lorah, it appears that someone in the Kia Sorento fired the first gunshots before members of the group that included Page and Sanders returned fire. Page is accused of firing in the direction of the vehicle from a porch in the neighborhood, while Sanders is accused of firing gunshots from a yard, investigators allege.

The Kia crashed while fleeing, then left the area, Lorah said. A short time later, someone reported the vehicle stolen, he said.

Police recovered shell casings at the shooting scene and investigators will be executing search warrants in the neighborhood as part of the "active and ongoing" investigation, Lorah said.

"Obviously any time there is a shooting in the city it is very concerning to us, and the age of the victim, 14, is the exact reason we created the Juvenile Crime Unit," Lorah said.

The Juvenile Crime Unit, which was eliminated from the Erie Bureau of Police in 2005 because of budget issues, was reinstated in January in response to a rise in juvenile-related crime in the city.

"The unit not only investigates crimes committed by juveniles, but cases involving juvenile victims of crimes," Lorah said. "The unit will be assisting the Major Crimes Unit in this case."

Anyone with information that can assist Erie police in the ongoing probe, including property owners who may have security cameras in the area of Wednesday's shooting, is asked to call Detective Sgt. Patrick Ginkel at 814-870-1161 or Detective Jason Russell at 814-870-1112.

Neighborhood no stranger to gun violence

The shooting is the latest violent incident to hit Erie as gun crimes among juveniles and young adults have spiked during and after the pandemic. Police have probed several shootings in the area where Wednesday's incident occurred.

They include the fatal shooting of Kalvin Davis, 18, killed on July 1, 2021, when numerous gunshots were fired into his duplex at West 29th and Cherry streets at about 3:50 a.m. He was shot in the head.

Police in October used DNA evidence to charge a 20-year-old Erie resident, Jamie D. Smith, in the homicide.

Fatal shooting:Testimony: Recovered gun, testing, statements of 'beef' lead to suspect in Erie killing

Other incidents in the neighborhood include a 16-year-old shot in the shoulder on Aug. 7 and a 17-year-old shot in the stomach on Aug. 25.

"This neighborhood right here has had a significant amount of gunplay over the past two years," Spizarny said.

Contact Ed Palattella at Follow him on Twitter @ETNpalattella.

Contact Tim Hahn at Follow him on Twitter @ETNhahn.

This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Erie police charge 2, search for others in shooting that hurt boy