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Teen shot in Allentown alley; victim in critical condition

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:03:21 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 02 2013 10:11:39 AM CDT

A 16-year-old boy is recovering from critical injuries after being shot on an Allentown alleyway.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

A quiet neighborhood is stunned after a 16-year-old boy was critically injured in an alley there. 

The shooting happened around 11:30 p.m. Saturday on Gage Street, a few blocks off Airport Road on Allentown's east side.

The shooting scene is the kind of working-class street where people stay for decades -- where they hang flower pots from the window and proudly fly the American flag.

"It's a quiet neighborhood," said resident Mary Fien.  "We look out after each other."

That innocence was shaken after a teenage boy was shot there.

"I just heard the shots go off, and then I went outside, and when I went back there, the cops were back there," said Karol Tomlinson, who lives right next to the shooting site.

 Police aren't identifying the victim.  They said he was shot once in the torso.

"The extent of the injuries were very serious," said Allentown's assistant police chief, Joe Hanna.

Hanna said investigators haven't been able to interview the boy since he underwent surgery.  So far, they have few clues to go on, although there are fresh tire tracks in the alley with evidence markers next to them.

"It's going to be very critical for us to be able to interview the victim in depth," said Hanna.

Stunned neighbors said crime is rare here, even minor drug dealing.

"Very surprising," said neighbor A.J. King.  "Everyone is, more or less, elderly around here, so that activity doesn't really go on."

Although this is a quiet street, some neighbors have seen subtle -- but troubling -- trends.  Cindy Oswald's car was just stolen Friday night; other neighbors recently had their tires slashed.  Some have found drug needles behind their homes.

"But that's it," said Oswald.  "We've had no problems as far as I know in this neighborhood."