A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Monday, July 13, 2015

Too Close for Comfort

Last week, Kory Ketrow, 22, who graduated high school a year before the SAMBBITU, was shot multiple times and killed as he was walking home from a friend's house in the early morning of 5 July. This is only a block or so away from the SAMBBITU's own apartment, and that is too damned close.
Kory Ketrow

Lehigh Street, where you don't want to be.

That was the second murder in Easton this year. Shortly after Ketrow was shot, a 46-year-old woman and 45-year-old man were shot at in  their car on N. Third St. In the process, the shooter's car, a white, 2013 Buick LaCrosse, brushed the other car and sustained minor damage.

Forty-five minutes later, Trevor Gray, 21, and Francine Ramos, 32, were shot and killed in a burgundy Honda near North Sixth and Greenleaf streets in Allentown.

Later during the day, an Allentown cop noticed a white SUV parked on the street and recalled the incident in Easton. Inside,they find a .38-caliber revolver, 18 spent cartridges and a Walmart shopping bag. DMV says the car belongs to a little old lady in Chambersburg, out in western PA. They contact her: Does anyone else drive your car? Her son, Kareem Mitchell, 23, of Newark.

The revolver is the same weapon used to kill the three victims.

The next morning, some young men with knives stage two armed robberies and attempt a third. They net $29, a cellphone, and a lighter. Later that day, another Allentown cop notices two men dressed similar to the robbers and he picks them up. They are Todd West, 22, of Elizabeth, NJ, and Robert A. Jourdain, 20, of Easton, PA.

West is also the shooter from the day before. Jourdain had bought ammunition at Wal-Mart. Mitchell, who had been driving them around in his mother's SUV, turns himself in later that day.  

It turns out that Union Co., NJ, was also looking for West (and the white SUV) for three murders in Elizabeth the previous week, plus one earlier murder (of West's cousin) in May. The same revolver was used in those killings. That's seven murders, one severe wounding, and two people shot at but not hit. His cousin and one of the other victims were known to West,but all the others were strangers encountered by chance. It was what some call a "spree killing."

Todd West
The Alleged Perps
Todd West, 22, of Elizabeth, NJ
Kareem Mitchell, 23, of Newark
Robert A. Jourdain, 20, of Easton, Pa.,


Monday May 18

  • Westkills his cousin, Micheal Thompkins

Thursday, June 25

  • 2:27 AM  West kills Dennis Vega in Elizabeth. 
  • 8:50 PM  ...and Kelvin Nelson
  • 9:50 PM  ...and Jamil Payne
  • 11:00 PM ...and severely wounds Richard Marte, caught on a surveillance camera.

Sunday, July 5

  • 2:45 AM Jourdain purchases bullets at a Lower Nazareth Wal-Mart.
  • 3:15 AM West guns down Kory Ketrow in Easton while he walks home from a friend's house
  • 3:20 AM Heading toward the highway, West fires shots at two people in silver car at North Third and Spring Garden streets in Easton, but does not injure the occupants
  • 4:00 AM Down the highway to Allentown, where West shoots and kills Francine E. Ramos and Trevor D. Gray in a burgundy Honda near North Sixth and Greenleaf streets in Allentown
  • 11:50 AM Allentown police recover a 38-caliber revolver, 18 spent cartridges and a Walmart shopping bag in a white Mercedes SUV on the 400 block of Hamilton Street in Allentown. The car is registered to Mitchell's mother.

Monday, July 6

  • 6:27 AM Man robbed of his cellphone and $20 in the 400 block of West Whitehall Street in Allentown8:55 AM Man robbed at knifepoint of $9 and a green lighter.
  • 9:00 AM Man has a knife held to his throat and has his hands cut during an attempted robbery in the 600 block of North Mohr Street.
  • 9:30 AM Allentown officer James Nuskey arrests two men, later determined to be West and Jourdain, after seeing them at North Morris and West Washington streets wearing clothes similar to those of two armed robbery suspects
  • 1:00 PM Kareem Mitchell, 23, of Newark, turns himself in to Allentown police. He had been the driver during the spree.

Tuesday, July 7

  • 11:15 AM Northampton County announces charges
  • 2:00 PM Lehigh County announces charges

Thursday, July 9

  • 11:00 AM  Union County announces charges

1 comment:

  1. Man, is that evil. So sorry it had to happen so near you and yours.

    When I was a kid in the 'burbs outside L.A., a kid I used to play basketball with was walking down the street about a mile from our house, when some gang bangers just shot and killed him. He was like 14. Back then, that rarely happened, and shocked everyone. Now, a few miles from here in Richmond and Oakland, this kind of stuff is a daily occurrence. May God have mercy on their (and our) souls!


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