Police: York shooting victim tried to thwart robbery

Liz Evans Scolforo

A York City man shot Monday night on West Locust Street was being robbed at gunpoint when he grabbed for the pistol, according to York City Police.

Investigators believe the three male robbers targeted Keith Hetrick Jr., according to Lt. Troy Bankert, who supervises the city detective bureau.

Keith Hetrick Jr., 31, was shot in the abdomen as he was being robbed in the 900 block of West Locust Street on Monday, June 12, 2017. 
(Jason Addy photo)

Bankert said he can't release details yet about why detectives suspect the robbery wasn't random.

Hetrick, 31, of West Poplar Street, is in good condition at York Hospital, the lieutenant said Tuesday.

He suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen and an exit wound to his right buttocks, according to Bankert.

Three males who had their shirts pulled up to cover the bottom of their faces tried to rob Hetrick at 9:11 p.m. Monday in the 900 block of West Princess Street, Bankert said.

"The robbery went bad," he said.

Hetrick grabbed the gun, which is when he was shot, the lieutenant said.

Responding officers applied pressure to try to stanch the bleeding until an ambulance crew rushed him to York Hospital, according to Bankert.

Officers were unable to speak in detail with Hetrick on Monday night and hoped to do that Tuesday, Bankert said.

Warehouse arsonist: Hetrick was released from state prison March 21, according to Amy Worden, press secretary for the state Department of Corrections.

Two years ago, Hetrick was sentenced to two to six years for setting a March 20, 2014, warehouse fire that destroyed six properties and displaced about a dozen people. He pleaded guilty to arson and risking a catastrophe and also was ordered to pay $145,377.65 in restitution.

Destroyed were the construction warehouse at 701-703 W. Philadelphia St., two garages to the rear of those addresses, 118 N. Belvidere Ave. and 705 W. Philadelphia St., all clustered at the corner of West Philadelphia and Belvidere.

York City Police Officer Matthew Irvin has testified that he and other officers were called to the warehouse not for a fire, but for a report of two burglars climbing into a window of the warehouse, coming out with items, then carrying those items inside 118 N. Belvidere Ave.

Smelled of gas: Officers went to the second-floor apartment of 118 N. Belvidere Ave. and while there, Hetrick walked in smelling strongly of gasoline, Irvin said. His jacket also matched the description of one of the burglars seen going in and out of the warehouse, the officer said.

Moments later, officers saw flames coming from the broken window the burglars had been using.

"It sounded like the entire building was engulfed," Irvin said.

Police arrested Hetrick at the scene, and Irvin said for a time he and Hetrick stood there as firefighters battled the blaze.

"We were both watching the fire. ... It was very big," Irvin said. "Out of the blue he just told me fires don't fascinate him — firefighters do."

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