Mall shooting suspect in custody
An alleged Bethlehem gang member has been arrested in the June double shooting at the Lehigh Valley Mall.
Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin and Whitehall Township Police Chief Michael Marks announced that 19-year-old Miles Harper, of 1206 Gordon St., Bethlehem, has been charged with two counts of attempted homicide and two counts of aggravated assault in the June 1 shooting that left two men wounded.
Police said Harper, who is allegedly a member of the Money Rules Everything (MRE) street gang, shot the two men after a fight at Macy’s Department Store. At least one of the victims is allegedly a member of a different gang, police said.
Harper was taken into custody July 12 by members of the Allentown and Whitehall Township police departments. He was arraigned and committed to Lehigh County Jail.
At around 7 p.m. June 1, Whitehall Township police responded to Lehigh Valley Mall for reports of a shooting and found two men suffering from gunshot wounds. One victim had a gunshot wound to the torso, and the other victim had a gunshot wound to the waist/pelvic region. Both men were taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital for treatment. Police said they are not identifying the victims to protect them.
Marks said the township police were assisted by Pennsylvania State Police and the Allentown, South Whitehall and Catasauqua police departments.
He said Whitehall police regularly patrol the mall and were “in a very nearby location” and responded quickly.
“We maintain a steady presence [at the mall],” Marks said. “We look to make sure the public is safe at all times.”
Following the shooting, police cordoned off a section of the mall’s parking lot near Macy’s, where the glass on an entry door into the first floor of the department store had been shattered. As part of the investigation, Whitehall Police Det. Matthew Reszek interviewed both victims. One of the men said the incident started when he got into a fight with Harper outside the interior entrance of Macy’s Department Store. He said his friends, as well as Harper’s, joined in the fight.
The victim said when he saw that Harper had a handgun, he and others ran through Macy’s and into the parking lot, where Harper caught up to him and shot him.
Police said the other victim was uncooperative but told police he tried to help the first victim and was shot when he ran into the parking lot.
Surveillance video from the Lehigh Valley Mall security system showed the fight and confirmed Harper had a handgun, police said.