Lehigh Valley

DA: Allentown homicide prompted by inappropriate text messages

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Authorities have arrested a 25-year-old man in connection to Tuesday's shooting death of a 19-year-old in Allentown.

Allentown police charged Christian A. Diaz-Dejesus with a single count of criminal homicide in the shooting death of Carlos Richiez at 10th and Chestnut streets shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Records show that the 25-year-old Diaz-Dejesus is in custody in Camden County Jail.

The homicide is not gang-related or drug-related, according to the district attorney, James B. Martin, nor was it a road-rage incident. 

It was prompted by text messages that were deemed inappropriate sent earlier in the day by one juvenile to another. According to the news release from the DA, adult members of the juveniles' families became involved in a dispute between the juveniles and that involvement led to the homicide.

Allentown police responded to the area of 10th and Chestnut streets about 9:50 p.m. Tuesday and found Richiez laying next to a gold Honda Accord, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head area, according to court records. Investigators also found debris from a second vehicle involved in a crash with the Honda.

Richiez later died at Lehigh Valley Hosptial Cedar Crest in Salisbury Township

A witness inside the Honda told authorities that he was at his North 11th Street home just before the shooting, where three men and a woman were discussing "inappropriate messages" traded by two juveniles.

The witness told police that an argument erupted as the group of four people arrived at the house. He said one of the men hit him in the head with what he believed was a handgun, according to records. The injury required stitches.

Court records do not specify the nature of the relationship between the juveniles and the people involved in the argument.

The group drove east on Chestnut Street in a black SUV, prompting Richiez, the witness and a second witness to follow the SUV in hopes of getting a license plate number. Investigators said the Honda rear-ended the SUV as it stopped at 10th and Chestnut streets.

The first witness told police that he then heard a gunshot and saw that Richiez had been shot.

The second witness in the Honda, who was sitting in the backseat, told police he heard a gunshot after the crash. He and the front-seat passenger removed Richiez from the car and placed him on the curb, according to records.

Court records indicate that the witnesses said Richiez was bleeding from his face.

A third witness reportedly told police that she went to the North 11th Street home with Diaz-DeJesus and that she saw him strike one of the witnesses in the head. She said they drove away from the house in a black Land Rover.

She told investigators that she heard a gunshot from inside the Land Rover and allegedly saw Diaz-DeJesus tucking what appeared to be a handgun in his waistband.

After driving away from the crash, the witness said she was dropped off at home and that one of the three men in the group drove the Land Rover to her father's body shop off Apple Butter Road in Bethlehem.

Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin and Allentown Police Chief Glen Dorney have announced a 4 p.m. news conference Thursday to discuss the investigation.

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