DA: Bethlehem Shootout Has Easton Connection

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli provides updates Easton, Bethlehem homicide cases.

Four of the people involved in a shootout Saturday at a Bethlehem nightclub are from the Easton area, Northampton County's District Attorney John Morganelli said Monday.

Which of those people are suspects in the case and which are victims remains to be seen, as investigators are trying to piece together the details of the case, Morganelli told reporters at his office.

He called a news conference Monday in response to a violent weekend in Northampton County: a mass shooting outside of Bethlehem's Puerto Rican Beneficial Society that left a 23-year-old woman dead and wounded five other men, and the apparent homicide of a New York City man on Easton's South Side.

"When events like this occur, there's a lot of distress that comes to the community," Morganelli said. 

In the Bethlehem shooting -- which claimed the life of Yolanda Morales and wounded five men -- Morganelli said he's confident prosecutors will file charges by the end of the week.

He said Bethlehem police made "tremendous progress," identifiying the three men suspected of firing the shots, and recovering their guns. The trick is to work out who was doing the shooting, and whether anyone was firing in self defense. He said it's unlikely anyone who fired one of the guns involved was a licensed gun owner.

The Easton case, meanwhile, is a mystery for now. 

"I can't say what the motive is," Morganelli said. He also noted that there were no witnesses -- at least none who have come forward. 

Sunday's homicide came less than two weeks after another fatal shooting in Easton's South Side that claimed the life of Ervin Holton, a popular city DJ known as "DJ E."

Police have "some very good leads on that case," said Morganelli, who spoke of the difficulty in finding witnesses in cases that involve illegal activities like drug dealing.

Murders "don't happen with the president of St. Luke's Hospital as your main witness," he said.

Morganelli stood by earlier statements that the public had no need to fear for its safety. He acknowledged that he could understand the concerns of people living in the neighborhoods where the killings happened, but maintained that "we still think Bethlehem and Easton are safe cities."

At the same time, he said that wandering around outside after midnight might not be a good idea.

"My dad used to tell me 'Nothing good happens after midnight, so come on home,'" Morganelli said.


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