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Search For Homicide Suspect Closes Park, Locks Down University

By Melissa Fullerton
Published On: Aug 16 2011 09:09:42 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 01 2011 06:03:18 AM CDT
READING, Pa. -

Within two days, an alleged teen killer has prompted two manhunts with zero results.

Matthew Perkins, 17, of Reading, shot three people at a party off North 11th Street on Saturday, police said.

One of the victims, Cesar Rivera, 22, died. Two others were taken to the hospital, one with serious injuries, according to investigators.

Monday morning, police said a call about an attempted armed robbery focused search efforts on an area around Alvernia University and Angelica Park.

"We got a couple of calls for some people out here in the park here who were approached by a male fitting the description of Matthew Perkins," explained Dep. Chief Mark Talbot, Reading Police Department.

After about two hours of searching Monday, Perkins was able to evade officers yet again.

"If we thought he was still here, we'd keep the perimeter," Talbot said.

Another tip sent officers on a similar search in the wooded area around Berks Catholic High School on Sunday.

Monday's manhunt prompted a lock down at Alvernia University.

Hikers and bikers trying to get onto the Thun Trail were turned back.

"The police stopped and said they were doing a search and they wouldn't let us go down there," said Chris Gursky, pointing to the trail.

Businesses in the search area were also put on high alert.

"Around 11:30, we got an email saying there had been suspicious activity in the area and that police were in Angelica Park with guns," said Emily Rimsay, who works nearby.

A few hours after Monday's manhunt ended, another tip led officers to a house in the 1000 block of Buttonwood Street in Reading. That trail, too, turned cold, but the response is proof Perkins' capture is a top priority for police.

"Absolutely armed and dangerous and we will continue to search until we find him," Talbot said.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Matthew Perkins should call Reading police or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913.

Callers to Crime Alert could receive a cash reward of up to $10,000 if their tip leads to Perkins' arrest.

7/31/11 STORY:Trail Runs Cold For Teen Homicide Suspect7/30/11 STORY:Teen Accused Of Killing 1, Wound 2 At Party