The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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January 23, 2013

Story of shooting slowly emerges

Police still trying to locate gun

SHARON — Police investigating the shooting death of a Sharon High School sophomore said the alleged shooter and a key witness told evolving stories about what led up to the shooting early Sunday morning in Sharon.

Between eight and 10 young people were at the house at 20 Strawbridge Ave. where authorities allege Le’Angelo “Lee Lee” Crumby Ford was shot by Jontae Maurice Barnes.

Sharon police Chief Mike Menster said he wouldn’t elaborate on the nature of the “gathering,” but said a group of teens and some twenty-somethings were there.

Le’Angelo, 17, was pronounced dead at 1:47 a.m. Sunday in the emergency room of Sharon Regional Health System; he was shot before 12:07 a.m., the time that police were called to the hospital.

Barnes and Vandell Lamont Spicer, 21, who lived at 20 Strawbridge, drove the boy to the hospital, Menster said, adding police are still interviewing people to determine what really happened.

An affidavit of probable cause attached to the documents charging Barnes with criminal homicide indicates the stories Barnes and Spicer have told police have evolved in the course of the police investigation.

Initially, Spicer told police he and Barnes were driving on East State Street and came upon Le’Angelo slumped over in a parking lot near Forker Boulevard.

“After further questioning, Spicer admitted the shooting had happened at his residence,” the affidavit said.

Spicer said he was outside talking on the phone when he heard a gunshot. He “indicated he thought Barnes had shot” Le’Angelo, but didn’t witness it.

Barnes, 19, of 381 Liberty St., was taken into custody at about 12:15 a.m. at Prindle Street and Edgewood Road. When questioned, he confessed to police that he shot Le’Angelo.

“Barnes claimed he found a small revolver in the sofa in Spicer’s living room and was examining it,” Sgt. Steve Ray wrote in the affidavit. “Barnes advised he was cocking the hammer and easing it forward when he pulled the trigger.

“Barnes admitted to seeing two rounds in the cylinder. Barnes claimed (Le’Angelo) approached him and asked to see the gun. Barnes claimed he initially extended the gun toward (Le’Angelo) but thought better of letting (Le’Angelo) see the gun. Barnes claimed (Le’Angelo) grabbed a hold of the gun and began pulling it.

“Barnes claimed he was holding the pistol by the grip and the victim was pulling on both his hand and the revolver. Barnes claimed the gun ‘went off’ and (Le’Angelo) was struck in the chest. Barnes stated he dropped the gun on the floor and he and Spicer carried (Le’Angelo) to a car and drove him to the hospital,” Ray wrote.

Spicer later admitted he had seen Barnes “playing around” with the gun prior to going outside to talk on the phone, according to the affidavit.

Police executed a search warrant at the house and an inventory returned Tuesday to District Judge Brian Arthur’s Greenville court revealed police seized one blood-stained wash cloth as evidence.

The gun has yet to be located; Menster said police believe it’s a small-caliber revolver.

Mercer County District Attorney Robert G. Kochems said he didn’t yet have information about the case and couldn’t comment on it.

“This is a murder investigation, it’s going to be very thorough,” Menster said.

Barnes is the only person charged thus far, he said.

“We’re still interviewing, still evaluating evidence,” Menster said.

The criminal homicide count that Barnes faces is a “general charge” that will be amended to specify a crime that could range from “everything from involuntary manslaughter to first-degree murder,” Menster said.

“At this point we believe there are elements to this crime that include negligence and recklessness,” he said.

Barnes is in Mercer County Jail on $200,000 bail.

Obituary information on page A-5.

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