Barrage of shots fired at group killed Shrewsbury man, injured woman, police say

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

Three adults and a 2-year-old child were reportedly hanging out outside a home near New Freedom when a gray car pulled into the driveway early Sunday evening.

The car had tinted windows, but the driver’s side window was down, and a hand holding a gun appeared, witnesses told Pennsylvania State Police.

One of the people at the house, Alexander Thomas, walked up to the car and had come within a few feet when the driver opened fire, witnesses said.

The 23-year-old Thomas, of the 100 block of Skyview Drive in Shrewsbury borough, fell during the barrage.

Another person in the group, Elizabeth Harmon, 38, was shot through the abdomen. No one else was shot, according to police.

The driver of the car then fled, leaving Thomas dead and Harmon injured.

By Monday afternoon, investigators had charged and arrested a suspect — Zachary Piccolo, 26, of Nottingham, Maryland — reportedly a co-worker of Thomas and one of the other people at the scene.

Piccolo faces one count of criminal homicide, four counts of attempted homicide, four counts of reckless endangerment and a count of attempting to cause serious bodily injury.

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Pennsylvania State Police responded to the home in the 4000 block of Steltz Road in Shrewsbury Township around 5:25 p.m. Sunday.

They found Thomas’ body along with 15 shell casings from 9mm bullets, charging document say.

Harmon was already gone; her husband had driven her to a hospital for treatment, police said.

A witness at the home told investigators she worked with Piccolo at a UPS business in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Another witness told police that Thomas also worked at the UPS location.

The first witness alleged that Piccolo had harassed her with texts at work until she blocked him. He then allegedly texted her again Sunday afternoon from a new number, including one with a photo apparently from the Walmart in Shrewsbury Township, according to charging documents.

Among the texts police transcribed in the criminal complaint, Piccolo allegedly wrote, “Take Alex over me,” “Bro Ill come to your house,” and “I will f------ die.”

One of the witnesses’ responses was “Pull up announce. And get yaself in trouble,” the complaint shows.

When Piccolo allegedly pulled up to the house, the witness told police, she identified him while his window was down. A second witness also identified him, charging documents show.

The two told police they saw him holding a handgun before opening fire.

Thomas fell when he was shot. Harmon ran into the house, injured and bleeding. A bullet also struck the house, police said in the charging documents.

The report doesn’t describe what happened to the first witness or the child at the scene.

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Police in Baltimore County arrested Piccolo without incident at his home, Pennsylvania State Police said.

He’s currently jailed in Baltimore County, waiting to be transferred to York County. A confinement hearing is set for Tuesday, court documents show.

Once in York, Piccolo faces a preliminary arraignment, and a preliminary hearing before District Judge Lindy Lane Sweeney is expected to be set.

An autopsy for Thomas is scheduled for 8 a.m. Tuesday at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, according to the York County Coroner's Office.

— Reach Aimee Ambrose at or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.