SUNBURY — An 18-year-old Sunbury man has been charged with fatally shooting a city man late Thursday night in the 400 block of Market Street after an argument over a woman, police said.
Jose David Jusino Morales, of 1101 Susquehanna St., was arraigned at noon Friday by Magisterial District Judge Rachel West-Benner on felony charges of criminal homicide, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm without a license, and misdemeanor possession of an instrument of crime. recklessly endangering another person, simple assault and falsifying a law to authorities.
The charges were filed by Acting Sunbury Police Chief Travis Bremgen and Patrolman Gary Bregenser.
Police said Jusino Morales is accused of fatally shooting Eliud Marrero Morales, 30, of Sunbury, with a 9 mm handgun in the area of 438 Market St. shortly before 11:30 p.m. Thursday.
Jusino Morales fired 12 shots at the victim, eight of which struck him, Bremgen said.
The acting police chief said the alleged shooter and the victim are not related.
The defendant was lodged in the Northumberland County Jail in Cole Township after Wiest-Benner was denied bail and is scheduled to face a preliminary hearing before a judge at 9:15 a.m. on November 14.
The same officers also charged Armando Antonio Pena Alvero, 21, of 125 Church St., a citizen of El Salvador, with felony possession of a firearm without a license and misdemeanor tampering with evidence.
Police said Pena Alveiro, a friend of Jusino Morales, was with the alleged shooter at the time he shot the victim before they both fled the scene in a car.
Pena-Alvero’s arraignment before West Pinner began at 10:45 a.m. Friday and continued for about an hour because Constable Jose Kiezes, of the State Police in Selinsgrove, had to be called in to act as an interpreter for the defendant, who claimed he had not done so. Do not speak or understand English.
The judge read the entire affidavit, paragraph by paragraph, of the criminal complaint against Pena Alveiro, which Keyes translated to the defendant in Spanish.
After Pena-Alvero said he understood the contents of the affidavit, the judge asked Assistant Northumberland County Prosecutor David Albertson to recommend that he be released on bail. Albertson requested $350,000 cash bail for Pena Alfero due to the serious nature of the crimes and the defendant’s lack of ties to the community. Albertson said the defendant poses a danger to the public and poses a flight risk. The judge agreed with Albertson and set bail at $350,000 cash, which Pena-Alfero was unable to pay. He was then lodged in the county jail.
Pena-Alvero was also ordered to appear at a preliminary hearing before a judge on November 14.
Both defendants, who periodically napped in court, wore bulletproof vests during their interrogation under the guard of Bremgen, Bregenser and Officer Harry Nungesser.
These were the first two summonses made by Fest-Benner, who had recently taken office.
Police were dispatched to the area of 438 Market St. after several shots were fired. Upon arriving at the scene, Pregencer Marrero observed Morales lying face down unresponsive while bleeding heavily from his head. The victim was found behind a black Dodge Ram parked in a stall, police said.
Nicole Jarman and Brett Mortan, who were driving east on Market Street, spotted the shooting victim lying face down and got out of their car to render aid, police said. Medical personnel from Americus Ambulance were called to the scene and found that the victim had died.
Callie Taylor told police she spotted two men at the scene when Marrero Morales was shot. The two men then fled the scene in a dark-colored white car, Taylor said.
Twelve 9mm shell casings were discovered around the Dodge Ram truck where Marrero-Morales was located as police combed the entire 400 block of Market Street for evidence.
Luis Manuel Jusino Morales, the brother of the alleged shooter, arrived at the scene and said he was pretty sure his brother was involved in the shooting and went to the Sunbury Police Department to turn himself in to authorities, police said. At 12:06 a.m. Friday, Point Township police and state police discovered Jose Jusino Morales in the back of the police station, handcuffed him and took him to an interview room inside the police department.
Police said the murder suspect arrived at the station in a white Honda and was impounded.
Jose Jusino Morales agreed to an interview with police in which he claimed that he had gotten into an argument with Marrero Morales over a woman named Amanda. The murder suspect said he and Pena Alvero then drove onto Front Street before turning onto Market Street, while Marrero Morales followed in his black Dodge Ram.
Jose Jusino Morales told police that he and the shooting victim were talking on their cell phones when Marrero Morales asked him to stop so he could punch him and kill him. He claimed that the three individuals then got out of the two cars and began arguing. During the fight, Jusino Morales said he noticed Marrero Morales walking toward him with his hand behind his back. At that point, Jusino Morales said Marrero Morales told him, “If you don’t walk toward me, I will kill you.”
Jusino Morales, who claimed he didn’t want any trouble, said he thought Marrero Morales had a gun, but he didn’t see it. At that point, Jusino Morales admitted to firing his gun at the victim before driving away with Pena-Alfero in his white Honda.
Jusino Morales told Bremgen during the interview that he threw the alleged murder weapon and bullets into the Susquehanna River near a boat launch in Sunbury.
At 4:06 a.m. Friday, Pena-Alvero came to the police station and handed officers a gun that was allegedly used in the fatal shooting. After being handcuffed, Peña Alvairo agreed to be interviewed. While the three men were standing on Market Street, Pena Alvero said he told Jusino Morales and Marrero Morales that they should not fight, but he said Marrero Morales continued to argue with Jussino Morales.
Pena-Alvero said he saw Jusino Morales reach into his car through the window and extract a gun from under the seat. He said Jusino Morales then began shooting at Marrero-Morales before he and Jusino Morales left the scene in the Honda.
When asked why Joseno Morales shot the victim, Pena Alvaro said Joseno Morales started driving faster before driving him to his home on Church Street. At that point, Pena-Alvero told police that Jusino Morales handed him a 9mm Ruger pistol and told him to put it in a safe place. Pena Alfero said he grabbed the gun, put it in plastic wrap and hid it in his bedroom.
At no time did he open fire, Pena-Alvero said.
When Pena Alveiro’s sister returned home, the defendant said he explained the situation to her and his sister advised him to turn himself in to the police.
During another interview with Jusino Morales, Bremgen said that the murder suspect admitted to giving Pena Alvairo the gun, which had five live rounds in its magazine when police confiscated it.
Albertson praised Bremigen and his officers for conducting an outstanding investigation that led to the quick arrests. “The department worked very well as a team and quickly resolved this issue,” Bremgen said.