Township Police Still Investigating ‘Shots Fired’ Report

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Lower Pottsgrove police are continuing an investigation into the apparent firing of several gunshots that occurred eight days ago in the general area at the south side of Gerald Richards Park, and possibly along Pebble Beach Lane. A group of property owners on the lane expressed concern about the incident during Thursday’s (April 21, 2022) township Board of Commissioners‘ meeting.

Board President Bruce Foltz said he and his colleagues heard and understood their worries, and Police Chief Richard Bell reports he has joined his officers and detectives in working the case. He’s also spoken personally, he said Wednesday (April 27), with some property owners involved and suggested they call him if necessary for follow-ups.

So far, no suspects have been arrested.

Although the chief said the department can confirm – using surveillance video and other resources – that shots were indeed fired April 20 (Wednesday) at about 10:20 p.m., corroborating physical evidence is scarce. He promptly notified commissioners and township Manager Ed Wagner of the incident, he noted. In the hours immediately following and since, Bell said:

  • Officers have spent dozens of man-hours canvassing the area, scouring it for evidence, and interviewing community residents. Many heard shots, but none saw shooters;
  • They’ve collected video, both publicly and privately available, and reviewed that footage for clues, any criminal activity, and faces;
  • They’ve checks and determined no one appears to have been hospitalized, or sought local medical care, for a gunshot wound in the interim; and
  • The department has yet to locate spent casings, bullet holes in buildings, traces of blood or injury, or other materials expected to accompany such a crime, despite a thorough examination of several areas. It included homes located on Pebble Beach Lane, residential units at the nearby Walnut Ridge Estates housing community, and buildings at the Rolling Hills apartment complex.

The lack of a more precise placement for the alleged shooter(s) has made the investigation difficult, according to Bell, because the search area is so broad. “We can’t tie it to any specific location,” he said.

The April 20 event has reminded some in the neighborhoods of similar incidents.

Lower Pottsgrove police during February 2020 investigated a “shots fired” call inside Walnut Ridge. They later determined a semi-automatic weapon was involved, which witnesses said was fired by individuals who fled in a silver sedan. No victims were identified in that investigation, and no arrests were made.

During July 2021, about four months before Bell’s arrival as chief, there also were concerns about a shooting in the same general area, following which investigators charged a juvenile. In that incident, a bullet went astray, he said, nearly injured as passer-by, and then became lodged in the side of a house.

The current case remains open, Bell said. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call the department at 610-326-1508, or to offer information anonymously online at the department’s CrimeWatch website, here.

Just as commissioners did Thursday, Bell has spoken by phone, in person, or both with property owners and tenants. “Some of them feel unsafe,” he acknowledged, and he has increased the number, frequency, and visibility of patrols throughout the affected neighborhoods.

“We’re letting them know we’re here,” he said of all residents of the search area, and added the department will not only respond to concerns but is taking proactive measures to ensure confidence.

Badge photo supplied by Lower Pottsgrove Police and edited by The Posts