Three accused in shooting of 12-year-old face trial

Three men accused in the shooting of a 12-year-old boy in York City in September now face trial.

During a preliminary hearing Wednesday, Nov. 21, District Judge James Morgan determined there was enough evidence for Eric Bones Jr., 18, to go to trial in the Court of Common Pleas.

Bones' co-defendants, Jah'Zion Simar Smallwood, 18, and Stephen Gerhardt, 19, both waived their preliminary hearings Wednesday.

York City Police have said the three were involved with a shooting that sent a 12-year-old to the hospital on Sept. 9. 

Eric Bones

Hearing: York City Police Detective Travis Sowers was the only person to testify during Bones' hearing Wednesday.

Police have said that the three found their target on Hamilton Avenue at 10:15 p.m. Sept. 9. 

Smallwood and Bones then fired 15 to 20 shots between them, and they ended up striking a 12-year-old who was on nearby Stevens Avenue, according to authorities.

Sowers said the boy who was shot was taken to Hershey Medical Center, where he stayed for about a week and a half. 

Sowers said witnesses saw a silver Hyundai Sonata in the area and that two guns were fired from the front passenger side and rear passenger side.

On Sept. 12, there was a shooting in the first block of Dewey Street in West York during which that same vehicle was seen, Sowers said. He also said Gerhardt was a victim in that shooting.

Stephen Gerhardt

Police spoke to Bones, and he said he was at the West York shooting but denied being at the York City shooting, Sowers said.

However, witnesses told police that Bones was with the other two at Gerhardt's North York home the day of the York City shooting.

Sowers also said Gerhardt identified Bones as a shooter in the York City incident. Bones' attorney, Farley Holt, asked Sowers if anyone corroborated that information other than Gerhardt, and Sowers said no.

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Sowers said there were .380 shell casings found at both the West York and York City shooting scenes.

No gun has been recovered for the .380 shell casings in York City, he said. The detective testified that bullet shrapnel found at the scene matched with a gun found in Windsor Township.

An informant told police he saw Smallwood ditch the gun when officers arrived on scene to investigate an underage drinking party there, authorities have said. 

Jah'Zion Smallwood

According to the detective's testimony, Gerhardt said Bones threw all but one of the shell casings from the York City incident out of the vehicle.

The vehicle, Sowers said, was recovered after the York City shooting. He testified that the vehicle belonged to the father of Gerhardt's girlfriend. 

West York shooting: At least two people were firing during a shootout in the first block of Dewey Street about 7:20 p.m. Sept. 12, West York Police Chief Matt Millsaps has said.

Gerhardt was shot in the torso and through the arm, police said.

According to charging documents, Gerhardt, Smallwood and a man identified as "E.B." went to the area to buy drugs, and at least two of them were armed.

"(Gerhardt) stated two individuals came from around the corner shooting at them when he was shot," documents state. "He stated E.B. returned fire."

Forensic evidence collected at the scene allowed police to track down one of the guns used, police said. That evidence included a .380 shell casing found inside Gerhardt's vehicle as well as six .380 casings and a dozen 9 mm casings strewn around the area, police said.

At the time of the shooting of the 12-year-old, York City Police said Bones was facing charges of reckless endangerment and possession of a firearm by a minor for the West York incident. 

However, there is no public record of Bones, 17 at the time, being charged in the incident. 

Bones, of the 1000 block of Kelly Drive, York City, is charged with attempted homicide, conspiracy to commit homicide, aggravated assault, possessing a firearm as a minor and tampering with evidence.

Gerhardt, of East Seventh Avenue in North York, remains in York County Prison. In the York City shooting, he is charged with attempted homicide, conspiracy to commit homicide and aggravated assault, and he was denied bail.

In the West York case, he is charged with conspiracy to commit reckless endangerment. His bail in that case is $150,000, according to court records.

Smallwood, of the 800 block of West Poplar Street, is charged with the same offenses in both cases, court records indicate. He also is charged in the York City shooting with carrying a firearm without a license, records state.

He was initially denied bail, but Judge Morgan set his bail at $250,000 after Smallwood waived his hearing Wednesday.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.