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Teen Wanted For Murder Arrested In Florida

By Pam Cunningham
Published On: Aug 16 2011 09:05:32 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 09 2011 05:42:01 AM CDT
READING, Pa. -

A massive manhunt that started last week in Reading has ended in Florida.

Police said they've got the guy who opened fire at a party in the city on July 30, killing one man and wounding two others.

Reading police said they anticipated 17-year-old Matthew Perkins would flee the area. But they never suspected he would go to Florida.

The manhunt was massive.

"His picture was plastered, every time somebody saw somebody that looked like him they were calling us," said Inspector Fran Drexler of the Reading Police Department. "Needless to say, they were all checked out."

Reading police along with other law enforcement agents searched high and low for Matthew Perkins last week. They searched the woods near Oakbrook Homes, woods in Angelica Park and a rowhome in Reading.

"He's been accused of shooting three people, killing one," said Drexler. "Needless to say, it's someone we want off the street."

Police said they followed every tip and even gave out-of-state police departments a heads up. The notifications went as far south as Georgia. But Monday, they were contacted from Florida.

"We were really really happy to get the phone call," said Drexler.

Inspector Fran Drexler said an Osceola County deputy sheriff found Matthew Perkins while investigating another crime involving a stolen car and thefts from vehicles.

"They then went to a hotel that was very close by and knocked on the door," said Drexler. "And I understand a Mr. Perkins answered the door."

Perkins may have been over a thousand miles away from home, but Florida investigators figured out who he was.

"I guess after some good investigative work they got a proper identification and ran him," said Drexler. "And learned that he was wanted for homicide here in Reading."

Drexler said he's thankful for the Florida authorities and all the local tips in this case.

"We were determined to get him, we're just happy it happened," said Drexler. "It doesn't matter how it happened. He's off the streets."

An extradition hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. It's not known when Perkins will be back in Berks County. Drexler said Perkins is not facing any charges in Florida.