READING, Pa. - Another teenager is the latest person to die as a result of gun violence on the streets of Reading.
RPD officers found the 17-year-old victim dead Tuesday night in the 400 block of North 10th Street. They had responded to the neighborhood for the reports of a shooting.
As part of their investigation, detectives were focusing much of their attention inside a nearby home on Buttonwood Street.
"We believe the crime scene, or where the shooting took place, may have been inside the home," said Berks County District Attorney John Adams.
So far, the victim's name has not been released, and the police have made no arrests. They're asking anyone with information to contact Crime Alert Berks County by texting a tip to 847411, starting the message with keyword alertberks, or by calling 877-373-9913.
This is the fourth fatal shooting in Reading since the start of the year, although Adams determined one of them to be justified.
"In essence, it's just way too many [homicides]," Adams said, "and I am just hoping that this is the last that we have for a long time."
The city's first homicide victim of the year was a 25-year-old man who was fatally shot in the 200 block of Pearl Street on Jan. 12; another was a 16-year-old girl who was shot and killed on Scott Street in the city's Oakbrook neighborhood on Feb 5. A 14-year-old boy has been charged with homicide in her killing.
"A lot of the shootings over the past year have involved juvenile victims, juvenile offenders, or young adults," said RPD Chief Richard Tornielli.
The task force will also launch a program that aims to steer elementary and middle school-age children away from gangs.
While investigators have not yet provided a motive for Tuesday night's homicide, it happened only hours after Adams announced that the county's gang task force would be boosting targeted patrols in an effort to combat gang activity amid the recent uptick in violence.
Also, last week, Reading Mayor Eddie Moran unveiled a three-part plan to curb gun violence in the city. The first part of the plan involves establishing a gun buyback program, the second part is setting up a community police program, and the third is partnering with organizations that include the Olivet Boys and Girls Club and Moms Demand Action.
"We're using a multi-pronged approach to combatting gun violence here in the city," Tornielli said Wednesday. "We're looking at initiatives to engage the community in order to identify folks who are carrying firearms... especially when it comes to the juveniles/young adult."