Trail Runs Cold; Police Still Searching For Suspected Shooter

Author:
Published: Aug 16 2011 01:02:46 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 01 2011 07:20:21 AM EDT
READING, Pa. -

Reading Police thought they found the man accused of shooting three people this weekend, but after an all-out manhunt Sunday afternoon, the trail turned cold.

Officers searched a wooded area near the former Holy Name High School on Wyomissing Boulevard, after a Reading police officer reported seeing 17-year-old Matthew K. Perkins in the area.

Perkins is accused of shooting and killing 22-year-old Cesar Rivera, and wounding two others, at an early-morning party off North 11th Street on Saturday.

"Without a question, this is a very dangerous guy," said Berks County Sheriff Eric Weaknecht.

Police said one of the shooting survivors is clinging to life in critical condition at Reading Hospital. The other is expected to recover.

Along with a state police helicopter, several tracking dogs were brought in for the search, but the heat made it difficult.

"Because of the heat, the dogs are fatiguing very quickly," Weaknecht said. "So we have to get fresh dogs in, to pick up the scent."

Eighteen Berks County deputies were already conducting a warrant round-up when they were called in to help. It was the first warrant round-up since Deputy Kyle Pagerly was murdered by a suspect he was serving a warrant on.

"I'm sure it's on the back of their mind, but that's what they do and what we do," said Weaknecht. "And we have a job to do, and we have to get it done."

Police called off the search around 4 p.m. when the tracking dogs lost the scent. Reading Police believe Matthew Perkins could be armed and dangerous, so they're urging people to take a good look at his picture and keep a close eye out for him.