Lehigh Valley

Police: Man threatens to shoot up house with stolen gun

Incident happened in Allentown Sunday evening

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Authorities allege an Allentown man ditched the stolen handgun he was threatening to use to shoot up a North Fourth Street house Sunday evening.

Police charged Jose R. Martinez-Velazquez with weapons offenses following a foot chase and arrest in the 400 block of Turner Street about 5 p.m. Sunday. District Judge Rod Beck arraigned the 28-year-old Monday morning, setting bail at $100,000.

Allentown police were dispatched to the 200 block of North Fourth Street on Sunday for a report of a man who said he had a gun and was threatening to shoot up a house on the block. Officers had been dispatched to the same area earlier for a shots-fired call, according to court records.

The man, later identified as Martinez-Velazquez, was described to authorities as skinny with a beard and wearing all black and blue latex gloves, according to records. A witness told arriving officers that Martinez-Velazquez was seen walking west on Turner Street. An officer reportedly spotted him in the area of Turner and College streets.

Police said they spotted a man matching the description provided by the witness. When officers approached him, Martinez-Velazquez allegedly took off, running between two homes in the 400 block of Turner Street.

An officer followed Martinez-Velazquez as he ran in between houses and along a fence. After Martinez-Velazquez was apprehended, the officer alleges he found a handgun along the fence where Martinez-Velazquez was running. It had been raining that afternoon, and the gun didn’t appear to be wet, police said.

A records search revealed that the Taurus PT111 handgun had been reported stolen to the Pennsylvania State Police Fern Ridge barracks in Blakeslee, Monroe County, according to records. Records also show that Martinez-Velazquez previously pleaded guilty to a felony drug charge.

Court records do not indicate why he allegedly threatened to shoot at a house.

Authorities charged Martinez-Velazquez, of the 500 block of North Fourth Street, with carrying a firearm without a license, illegal possession of a firearm and receiving stolen property. He was released from custody on Monday after a bondsman posted his bail. His next court date is a preliminary hearing tentatively scheduled for May 20.

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