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'Extremely dangerous': Police search for alleged shooter in Regal theater homicide

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

The person who police said fatally shot a man inside the Regal Cinemas and wounded a woman bystander remains on the lam. Officials are warning the public to steer clear of him and urging people to call 911 right away if they spot him.

Once captured, Anu-Malik Lee Johnson will be charged with homicide, aggravated assault and illegal possession of a firearm, according to charging documents. A warrant for his arrest was issued Thursday, court records state.

"He is an extremely dangerous human being," West Manchester Township Police Chief John Snyder said at a news conference  Friday, Dec. 6. "He is probably armed, (and) he is at large. ... He could be anywhere at this time."

Johnson, who turns 21 next week, has no fixed address, police said. He's spent time in York City as well as Harrisburg, according to Snyder.

Anu-Malik Lee Johnson

Snyder said the investigation shows Johnson and homicide victim Andre White Jr. knew each other before the double shooting, which happened about 10:15 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, inside Theater 6 at Regal West Manchester in the West Manchester Town Center.

The other shooting victim, a woman whose name has not been released, was shot in the face, according to charging documents. On Friday, Snyder described her injuries as not life-threatening.

She was not with White, according to the chief, who described her as a bystander.

At this point, investigators have not determined a "clear motive" in the homicide, Snyder said.

"This was, in my opinion, an opportunity Mr. Johnson took," he said. "It was clear from our investigation there was some animosity (between them)."

York County District Attorney Dave Sunday said it's critical for anyone with information about Johnson or his whereabouts to call police or 911 immediately. He thanked the people who have already contacted police and said there were many who did.

White, 22, of Walnut Street in Carlisle, was pronounced dead at 10:55 p.m. Monday at York Hospital. He was shot multiple times, including in his chest, according to charging documents.

After the shooting, Johnson and alleged co-conspirator Jalen Bellaflores can be seen in security video running from the theater, according to charging documents.

Bellaflores, 19, was arrested Wednesday night at his home in the 100 block of Test Road in Conewago Township, police said. He is now in York County Prison without bail, charged with homicide and conspiracy to commit homicide.

Anu-Malik Lee Johnson

Security video shows Johnson and Bellaflores sat down in the third-to-last row of Theater 6, after which White and his girlfriend walked into the theater and sat down in the back row, according to charging documents.

Something caused Johnson and Bellaflores to switch seats, and shortly afterward Bellaflores stood up and headed toward the exit, documents state.

"Seconds later, the second subject got up out of his seat, walked back around that row of seats to the last row and began shooting," charging documents state.

Johnson kept firing as he headed toward the theater exit, which apparently is when the bystander was shot, according to documents.

West Manchester Township Police Chief John Snyder is joined by York County District Attorney Dave Sunday, left, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, during a press conference regarding a second suspect in Monday's fatal Regal Cinema shooting. Bill Kalina photo

Those documents also state that when White and his girlfriend arrived at Regal Cinemas, White ran into someone he knew who warned him about someone already inside.

After White walked into Theater 6, he noticed Johnson, and the two had a brief exchange of words, according to police. The shooting happened shortly afterward.

After West Manchester Township Detective Sean Conway distributed photos of the shooting suspects to local police departments, a number of officers and detectives in York City, as well as a West Manchester patrolman, identified Johnson as being one of the two men pictured, charging documents state.

"We've encountered Mr. Johnson ... before," Snyder said.

Asked whether Johnson is a member of a gang,  Sunday said, "We're putting those threads together."

West Manchester Township Detective Sean Conway describes a second suspect, Anu-Malik Johnson, while speaking at a press conference with York County District Attorney Dave Sunday, left, regarding the investigation into Monday's fatal Regal Cinema shooting Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. Police say Johnson is potentially armed and dangerous. Bill Kalina photo

2017 murder: Johnson has a connection to the June 27, 2017, murder of Elizabeth Vega-Tirado, 48, who was walking home from a York City corner store when she was fatally shot by a stray bullet that investigators say was meant for Johnson.

Leandro Pilier was 16 years old when he tried to shoot Johnson, who was in a moving car near the corner of West Princess Street and South Belvidere Avenue just before 3:45 p.m.

Pilier was charged as an adult and found guilty of third-degree murder in September 2018. He is currently serving a 15- to 30-year prison sentence.

Vega-Tirado was just a few feet from her door when she was shot while carrying home groceries. She was the mother of four sons.

In October 2018, Johnson pleaded guilty to felony drug dealing and was sentenced to nine to 23 months in York County Prison, court records state.

Johnson may have longer hair and braids, according to Snyder.

Anyone with information on Johnson's whereabouts can call West Manchester Township Police at 717-792-9514, or call 911.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.