York City Police focus on illegal guns, some charged already have gun convictions
Officers seized at least eight illegal guns off the streets of York City in less than three weeks as part of the department's ongoing mission to reduce gun violence, police said.
"People in York are fed up," York City Police Commissioner Michael Muldrow said. "They are talking to us (about illegal gun tips), telling us where to go, and our guys are going after it."
Most of the guns used in street shootings in York were illegally possessed, the commissioner confirmed.
Muldrow said getting illegal guns off the streets is a top priority.
"Win, lose or draw, it won't be for lack of trying," he vowed. "That's how the whole department feels. Everybody is very motivated again, trying to bring down these crime statistics. That's a corner we have to turn."
So far in 2020, York City officers have seized and recovered 157 firearms, according to Sgt. Daniel Lentz, department spokesperson.
Seventeen of them were simply found, dropped or discarded, he said, while the remaining 140 were primarily illegally possessed.
What made them illegal? That includes weapons reported stolen or missing and also includes guns found in the possession of minors or felons, neither of whom can legally have them, Lentz confirmed. Not included in that number were firearms collected as evidence in suicides or taken in related mental-health situations, he said.
Muldrow said the access young people have to illegal guns — and their willingness to use them — is troubling and disheartening, and said the city's officers have their marching orders.
"The one thing I told them is nonnegotiable is that we as a department are going to go after these illegal guns and those doing the illegal shootings," he said. "I told them, 'Get me guns.'"
"They're really working their butts off every night," he said.
A number of residents have approached Muldrow and his officers as they were out on the police department's twice-weekly "neighborhood impact walks," to provide police tips about illegal guns, according to the commissioner.
"Some of the best tips we've been receiving have been when we're out walking," Muldrow said.
He urges people to contact police with information about illegal guns and who has them.
"Point us in the right direction and our hungry batch of officers will do the rest," Muldrow said.
First 2 arrests: On Nov. 25, a detective in an unmarked vehicle spotted Devin Aleman waving a handgun in the air near the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Juniper Street, and called marked units to the area, according to Lentz.
Aleman took off on foot and threw down the handgun he'd been holding, which officers recovered, the sergeant said.
As police were in the area, two people walked toward them, including Miguel Ortiz, police said. An officer arrested Ortiz after spotting a .357 revolver in the man's pocket, according to Lentz.
Aleman, 24, and Ortiz, 22, both of York City, remain in York County Prison on $50,000 bail each, charged with felonies including being felons in illegal possession of firearms and carrying firearms without licenses and, for Aleman, flight to avoid apprehension, records state.
In 2016, York City Police arrested Aleman for pointing a loaded gun at a York City firefighter who spotted Aleman looking in his car, which was parked in the Lincoln fire station lot, police reported at the time.
He was later sentenced to 1½ to three years in state prison, according to court records.
When police arrested Ortiz on Nov. 25, he was free on bail, charged in an earlier case with being a felon in illegal possession of a firearm and carrying a firearm without a license, records state.
1 stop, 3 guns: On Nov. 26, a city officer stopped a vehicle for running a stop sign, and police could smell marijuana in the vehicle, Lentz said.
A search of the vehicle yielded crack cocaine, powder cocaine and oxycodone, as well as three firearms, according to the sergeant.
Arrested were the occupants of the vehicle — Rashad Malik Colon, Samia Lynya Otto and Jada Marin Andrews, Lentz said.
Colon, 18, and Otto, 21, both of York City, remain free on $25,000 bail each, charged with the felonies of firearms not to be carried without a license and drug possession with intent to deliver, plus misdemeanors.
Andrews, 21, of Red Lion, was the driver, according to Lentz. She remains free on $15,000 bail, charged with felony drug possession with intent to deliver and misdemeanors.
Shooter captured: A York City man who shot and paralyzed another person in October 2015 was wanted again on gun charges, according to police.
Anthon D. Reece Jr. was captured Tuesday, according to court documents.
Reece fled from a vehicle stop at Cottage Hill Road and North Pershing Avenue, abandoned the car he was driving and took off on foot on Nov. 30, Lentz said.
Police found a loaded Glock .40-caliber handgun under the driver's seat, according to the sergeant.
Reece, 22, of York, is charged with felonies including carrying a firearm without a license and fleeing police, and remains free on $7,500 bail in that case, plus another $7,500 bail in a felony drug case, court records state.
Reece was sentenced to less than a year in prison for the shooting in which his victim was paralyzed. That's because the victim wouldn't cooperate in the prosecution of Reece or his co-defendant, according to the York County District Attorney's Office.
Other arrests: Also arrested for allegedly possessing an illegal gun was Yandel Gonzalez-Rodriguez, 19, of York, who police said pointed the gun at someone during an altercation in the 100 block of South Beaver Street on Nov. 29, according to Lentz, who said the gun was seized as evidence.
He is free on $20,000 bail, charged with the felonies of possessing a firearm with an altered or obliterated serial number and carrying a firearm without a license.
Lentz said Joshua Denzel Penn is wanted for crashing a car while allegedly fleeing from police on Dec. 2. He abandoned the Honda Civic he'd been driving and officers found a handgun, cocaine, marijuana and drug packaging material in the car, according to Lentz.
Police had tried to pull him over on Madison Avenue near North Newberry Street because he had been driving erratically, the sergeant said.
Once captured, Penn, 27, of York, will be charged with felonies including being a felon in illegal gun possession, carrying a firearm without a license, flight to avoid apprehension and drug possession with intent to deliver, court records state.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.