Police: Alleged York City killer and victim were neighbors

Liz Evans Scolforo

A 16-year-old York City youth charged as an adult in Monday's homicide of Craig Henise confessed to a school acquaintance, asking how much prison time he could get for shooting someone, according to charging documents.

Bernard H. Simmons III, of 440 Salem Ave., is now in York County Prison without bail, charged with homicide and carrying a firearm without a license. He is enrolled at William Penn Senior High School, a York City School District official said.

Bernard Simmons III

Henise, 50, of Neater Street, died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the York County Coroner's Office, which has ruled his death a homicide. An autopsy was performed Wednesday at Allentown's Lehigh Valley Hospital, Coroner Pam Gay said.

York City officers were called to the 400 block of Newton Avenue, at the intersection of Neater Street, about 8:40 p.m. Monday, where they found Henise lying on the ground, bleeding from his leg, police have said.

He was rushed to York Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:40 a.m. Tuesday by Chief Deputy Coroner Claude Stabley, according to the coroner's office.

Surveillance video: York City detectives found surveillance video that showed the intersection where the shooting happened, police said.

In that video, two males can be seen talking with Henise at the intersection for 15 or 20 minutes, according to charging documents.

The two males walk away, and a few moments later Henise walked the same way, documents state. All three disappeared from camera view at that point.

A witness in the area told police he was in the 400 block of Salem Avenue when he heard gunshots and saw two teenage males running away, police said.

Craig Henise

Henise and Simmons both lived just yards from the scene of the fatal shooting, according to Lt. Troy Bankert, who supervises the city detective bureau. He confirmed that Henise and Simmons knew of each other.

Bankert said detectives believe they know what the trio were discussing and have an idea of the motive. But he said he can't yet make those details public because the investigation is ongoing. He was unable to say whether more arrests are expected.

How much time? Detectives spoke to someone Simmons knows from school, who told them Simmons told them Tuesday that he shot someone the night before in an alley near his house, according to charging documents filed by lead Detective George Ripley.

"He asked how much time (the acquaintance) thought he could get for doing this shooting," Ripley wrote in documents.

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Simmons was arrested at school Tuesday afternoon and was taken to the city police station, where he was allowed to have a private conversation with his mother, police said.

Afterward, Simmons confessed to shooting Henise, but claimed he did so in self-defense.

"Simmons stated that he saw a gun in Henise's waistband and shot him," Ripley wrote.

The teen told detectives that after the shooting, he gave the gun to a friend, police said.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.