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DA: Suspect in deadly shooting of Yolanda Morales, of Bethlehem, in custody

Published On: Dec 03 2012 03:57:33 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 04 2012 05:28:01 AM CST

A woman killed in a shootout in south Bethlehem on Sunday was running toward the violence, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said Monday.

EASTON, Pa. -

A woman killed in a shootout in south Bethlehem on Sunday was running toward the violence, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said Monday.

Yolanda Morales was shot and killed outside the Puerto Rican Beneficial Society, said Morganelli, who added that her killer is in custody, but no charges have been filed.

Two of the three alleged shooters are still hospitalized in serious condition, Morganelli said. The other has been released and has been cooperating with investigators.

Police on Monday were still putting the pieces of their investigation together.

"We are shocked. She [Morales] was a good niece," said Wanda Major.

A memorial and memories are all that are left for the family of Morales, 23, of Bethlehem.

"Started as an incidental minor contact between those in the club, then went outside, down the street and into gunfire," Morganelli said.

The melee, police said, involved two men from Allentown and Yolanda's group, which included three men from Easton.  

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For some reason, police said, Morales ran in the direction of the fight after either hearing arguing or gunshots.

Three shooters used two guns to fire 30 bullets, police said. Morales got caught in the crossfire.

"That's a homicide. Have to decide who shot her," Morganelli said.

Security is tight inside the Puerto Rican club, which uses metal detectors, said police, who noted they believe the guns were retrieved outside the members-only bar, which had been hosting a party that night.

 "Just had a dance. Something we do every Friday and Saturday," the club's manager said.

Police, however, said the club was allowing the public in Saturday night to watch an anticipated boxing match on TV. None of the six involved in the shooting, including Morales, was a member of the club.

One handgun was turned in; the other was found inside the bar, as one of the suspects tried to hide it, investigators said.

Charges are expected by the end of the week.