Charges that Anthony Holmes shot a teenager this summer were dismissed in Lehigh County Court Thursday.
The Allentown man had been arrested for shooting a 17-year-old boy in the leg during a party at the rear of the 1000 block of West Allen Street in the city shortly before midnight on June 14.
The boy told police he accidentally bumped into Holmes, a Bloods gang member, during the party and Holmes later shot in him the leg.
First Assistant District Attorney Steve Luksa said the young victim became uncooperative during the preliminary hearing, saying Holmes wasn't the man who shot him, even though he previously had identified Holmes as the shooter.
Luksa said the victim was not under oath when he first identified Holmes, but he was during the hearing, so the victim can't be charged with lying under oath.
Luksa said the dismissal is no reflection on the police or district attorney's office, who did their job.
"Ultimately, the court did the right thing," Luksa said.
The 22-year-old Holmes, who resides in the 100 block of N. Ellsworth Street in the city, had been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and carrying a firearm without a license.
Luksa said the increasing problem of uncooperative witnesses is something the district attorney's office deals with "on a daily basis. It's a sad testament to our community." Luksa said when witnesses or victims do not tell the truth or refuse to cooperate, it puts the community at risk.
He noted that during Thursday's hearing, the defendant's friends were outside the courtroom, all dressed in red, as members of the Bloods gang do.
The victim previously told police that Holmes is a Blood gag member known as ANT.
Some witnesses, Luksa said, are affiliated with gangs and prefer "street justice" rather than going through the proper channels.
"If they care about their community, people should tell the truth, and stand by their story" when conveying information to investigators, said the prosecutor.