A Marvine-Pembroke teen-ager celebrated her nineteenth birthday by drinking booze and firing a couple of gunshots into the air as she and a few pals drove to a liquor store to buy more alcohol on Friday night, Bethlehem police said.
Jasmine Mingo, 19, of 1327 Hilton St., and her friends Anthony C. Holmes, 21, of Bethlehem, and Alphonso Narciso Matos, 20, of Allentown, are all facing a number of charges as a result of the incident, which prompted multiple Bethlehem police squad cars to respond to—and briefly lock down—the Stefko Center.
A fourth co-defendant listed in court papers as Eric Lamont Terry of Nanticoke has not yet been charged, though arrest affidavits against the others say he admitted to police that he had a bag of marijuana in the car police stopped in the strip mall.
According to court records, the incident happened a little before 9 p.m. Bethlehem police Det. Christopher Beebe wrote in the arrest affidavit that he was conducting an interview on the 1200 block of Fairmount Street for an unrelated case when he heard two gunshots coming from the nearby intersection of Woodbine Street.
Then, according to the affidavit:
- The shots had apparently come from a silver/grey two-door Acura. As the car went through the intersection “at a high rate of speed,” Beebe heard another three to four gunshots.
- Beebe got in his police vehicle and followed the car from north on Woodbine Street toward Stefko Boulevard. As other police units responded, the car was spotted in the shopping center, parked in the fire lane in front of the Rent-A-Center and near the state Wine & Spirits Store.
- Police then conducted what Beebe called a “felony traffic stop” on the car. The driver and three passengers were all removed from the car and searched.
- One officer discovered a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol concealed on Holmes. Another officer found a plastic baggie filled with a substance that later tested positive as marijuana.
- A third officer observed two spent .38-caliber shell casings—one on the driver’s seat, the other on the front passenger seat. Beebe tested all four passengers with a gunshot residue kit. All of them came out positive.
- Mingo told Beebe that she and her friends had been celebrating her birthday at her house. She said that as they ran low on alcoholic beverages, they decided to go to the state liquor store so that Holmes could buy more.
- As they drove, Mingo told police, Holmes handed her a pistol and told her to take a few shots to “celebrate her birthday.” She said she stuck the gun out the window, pointed it slightly up, and fired two rounds.
- Mingo said she then gave the gun to Matos, who fired four more rounds into the air as he drove. Matos then handed the gun back to Holmes, who put it in his pocket, Mingo said.
- Holmes confirmed Mingo’s version of events in his interview with police. He told police that he found the gun lying next to a garbage can a block south of Mingo’s house and decided to keep it for himself. The gun had been stolen in South Carolina.
- Terry told police that he had been smoking marijuana and that the bag was his.
Holmes of 450 E. North St., Bethlehem, was charged with receiving stolen property, theft of property lost or mislaid, carrying a firearm without a license, recklessly endangering another person and selling or furnishing alcohol to minors.
Mingo and Matos of 122 S. Blank St., Allentown, were both charged with receiving stolen property, carrying a firearm without a license, recklessly endangering another person, discharging a firearm within city limits and minors consuming or purchasing alcohol.
Holmes, Mingo and Matos were all arraigned before on-duty District Judge David Tidd of Lower Saucon Township and committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail.