ALLENTOWN, Pa .– An Allentown police officer used force for cause when he shot a man who was shooting a “ghost gun” in the parking lot of a city shopping center earlier this year Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said. announced Wednesday.
APD Lt. Daniel Gross was on routine patrol in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 12, when he heard gunshots in the American Plaza parking lot. As Gross investigated, he found people fighting near a nightclub, including a man pulling towards the entrance to the club, Martin said in his press release.
Gross ordered the gunman to “drop the gun,” but he refused and appeared to raise and level the gun, Martin said. It was at this point that Gross fired four shots in rapid succession in order to stop any threat posed by the suspect, who was later identified as Elyn Jose Marte, a member of the “Little Lehigh Crew” gang, Martin said.
Marte fell to the ground. He was taken to a nearby hospital to treat his gunshot wounds. He was then held in Lehigh County Jail on charges of aggravated assault, common assault, reckless endangerment of another and not possessing a firearm.
Investigators said Marte’s pistol was a “ghost pistol” – a 9mm Polymer 80 semi-automatic pistol without a serial number.
Marte’s criminal history shows that he pleaded guilty in 2016 and 2019 to various drug and assault charges, making him a person who does not own a gun, Martin said.
The region where it happened has also seen its fair share of violence, including a shootout that left 10 people injured in 2019.
Developer Nat Hyman is donating part of a building in this area so that Allentown Police can use it as a substation. We spoke to Hyman last month about his plans.
“It’s definitely an area of Allentown that needs a better police presence. I mean, it’s no secret this area has its fair share of problems,” Hyman said.
Hyman hopes to open the substation in the spring and deter incidents like the one that happened in June.