the north face hat Four face charges in fight at cemetery
Four men face charges stemming from an altercation over $40 that ended in gunplay at Fairview Cemetery.
William J. Ray Jr., 24, of 1016 18th Ave.; Michael A. Luciano Jr., 22, of 110 E. Third Ave.; Devon V. Lake, 21, of 309 First Ave.; and William J. Hollen, 23, of 760 Loop Road, Hollidaysburg, are all charged with felony and misdemeanor charges that include criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person.
The incident took place nearly a year ago, on Feb. 17, at the cemetery. Warrants for the men arrests were issued Dec. 13. This week, three of the four suspects were arraigned on their charges with only Hollen still at large.
Luciano and Hollen also are charged with firearm not to be carried without a license, and Luciano is charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana. Feb. 17, when Altoona police officers were dispatched to the cemetery for a report of shots fired and encountered Luciano and another man, who was allegedly a witness to the incident but is not facing charges.
According to police, Luciano hands were covered in blood, and there was blood on his pants. Luciano had a black 9 mm Arsenal Makorov handgun, for which he had a bill of sale, concealed under his jacket in a holster. Police said Luciano did not have a concealed carry permit.
A check of the area by officers turned up blood spatter and three spent shell casings in the south end of the cemetery.
Luciano said he didn want to talk to officers but did admit he had a bag of marijuana in his boot.
The witness told police he wanted to talk and told police, just walked into this, and I don want any part of it, according to the charges.
Police said the witness said he met up with Luciano earlier in the evening, and their plan was to go to a party. Luciano said before the party, he and some other friends had to care of some business, which the witness didn think much about at the time. After the pair walked to the Chestnut Avenue Sheetz store, they met Ray, Lake and Hollen.
The witness told police Ray and Hollen seemed drunk and repeatedly sent texts to a man whose brother owed Lake $40.
Police would learn later from that man that he and Lake were friends, and he planned to meet Lake at Sheetz to talk about the debt,
but when he arrived at the store, Lake was nowhere to be seen.
The man said after he got to Sheetz, he received a text message telling him to meet at Fairview Cemetery.
The witness told police that the group walked up to the cemetery as a short cut to get to the party on the 2200 block of Ninth Street. Just after they started walking through the cemetery, a dark colored Ford Explorer drove into the cemetery and parked.
As the SUV parked, Hollen allegedly told Luciano, on, Mikey, flash the piece so he knows we are hard and we mean business.
the piece so he sees that we are thug. Let him see that we are gangster, Hollen allegedly continued to tell Luciano.
According to the story told to police by the witness, the victim got out of the SUV and shook hands with Lake and the two started talking. The witness told police it was a normal conversation, and while Ray and the witness who was not charged stood near Lake and the victim, Hollen and Luciano were hiding among the trees and tombstones.
At this point, the witness said Ray started trying to antagonize the victim, and when the victim turned to face Ray, Hollen ran out from hiding and struck the victim in the forehead with the butt of a gun.
Police said the witness told them that Ray grabbed the victim by the arm while Hollen punched and began wrestling with him.
The alleged victim later told the investigating detective that he was dazed after he was hit by the butt of the gun. With his head bleeding profusely, he said he found himself blinded by blood in one eye and being grabbed after he lunged at Hollen, who was standing in front of him with the handgun leveled at his head.
When the victim broke free, Hollen allegedly started firing the gun at him.
When police talked to the alleged victim, he told the detective that as he ran after breaking free, he heard three gunshots aimed in his direction and heard Hollen yell, going to (expletive deleted) kill you. victim ran toward his parked SUV, near the entrance to the cemetery, while Hollen fired shots at him, which were also in the direction of UPMC Altoona.
The witness told police that when Hollen started shooting, he ran north through the cemetery, and a couple of minutes later, Luciano caught up with him. The witness told police that Luciano now had the gun, that his hands were bloody and that he was to return to where the shooting took place because he wanted to pick up the spent shell casings, Altoona police Detective Cpl. Terry Merritts noted in the charges.
have to get those casings. Otherwise, they will do ballistics on them and figure out that they belong to my gun, Luciano allegedly told the witness.
When Luciano walked back toward where the gun had been fired, he was confronted by Altoona police officers and taken into custody.
Luciano was arraigned Saturday and jailed but on Monday posted 10 percent of $75,000 bail. Ray was also arraigned Saturday and placed in Blair County Prison in lieu of 10 percent of $75,000. He was released on Wednesday after posting bail. His was the only photo available from the Blair County Prison. Lake turned himself in Tuesday for arraignment on the charges and was released on an unsecured $25,
000 bond. Hollen remains at large.