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July 25, 2013

Evidence seized in shooting

Suspect is on parole from drug conviction

JOHNSTOWN — Johnstown police seized drugs, money, ammunition and a gun from a West End apartment building that was the scene of a Wednesday shooting that sent one man to the hospital and landed another man in jail.

City police said 27-year-old Lemmel Dashawn Myers shot Leslie Schetrompf, 37, inside a three-story red brick apartment building in the 100 block of Fairfield Avenue around 2 p.m.

Schetrompf was in critical condition Thursday with a gunshot wound in the right leg.

Police said Myers was wearing an ankle bracelet.

He was on state parole after serving a sentence for drug charges filed in Blair County, according to to state corrections spokeswoman Susan McNaughton.

Myers was considered a non-violent offender, McNaughton said.

The shooting prompted an outcry from city Councilwoman Marie Mock to crack down on what she called slumlords.

“It’s the slumlords of the city who are renting to these types of people who come in from wherever,” said Mock, a West End resident. “This is not a Section 8 issue, it’s a slumlord issue.”

She singled out Jeffrey Carr, the building’s owner.

“Apparently he’s not screening the people properly,” she said. “He doesn’t care.”

City police Chief Craig Foust said officers had been to the building before.

“I would just say it’s been under the scrutiny of the department and other agencies,” Foust said.  


An affidavit of probable cause states that Schetrompf’s girlfriend told police the couple went to the building to collect $20 for a weight bench.

Schetrompf walked down an alley that separates the building and an adjacent one, and moments later the woman heard two gunshots, the affidavit says.

Schetrompf left the alley bleeding from the right leg and climbed into her vehicle.

The couple fled the scene and stopped in the Giant Eagle parking on Broad Street and called authorities, Foust said.

Schetrompf was taken by ambulance to Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown for surgery. He identified Myers as the man who shot him, police said.

The Cambria County Special Emergency Response Team evacuated the two apartment buildings.

That’s when they found Myers.

“When he came out with the other residents he was identified by one of our patrol officers and that’s when he was placed into custody,” Foust said.

Myers was arraigned  by on-call District Judge Mary Ann Zanghi of Vinco on charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and a firearms violation.

He was sent to the Cambria County Prison after failing to post 10 percent of $150,000 bond.


Police are continuing the investigation into who else may have been involved in the shooting.

A witness told police that after the shooting, Myers gave a black semi-automatic handgun to another person. Police are searching for the gun.

Police followed the blood trail up two flights of stairs to the third floor. Police obtained a search warrant for the building and seized drugs and other items, the affidavit shows.

“There was a significant amount of heroin in the apartment complex, ammunition, some money and an additional firearm,” Foust said.

Myers lived in the building for six months and was superintendent during that time, Carr said.

Carr bristled at Mock’s accusation that he is a slum owner.

“The building is not a slum,” he said. “We renovated it and turned it into clean and decent housing.”

Renovations to the building include a new heating system, he said.  

He took exception to Mock’s description of a slum.

“Her definition of a slum is based on who you rent to, not what you rent,” he said. “Anybody that’s from out of town.”

Joshua Lancaster, who owns Absolute Ink West, a nearby business, said Myers was friendly.

“He would come down to the shop once a week and greet me,” Lancaster said. “He was always respectful and friendly. He didn’t seem like the type of person capable of conducting a shooting.”


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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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