Teen is charged in home shooting
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Aug 21, 2013, 14:08
HOPEWELL — A teenager has been charged after police say he fired shots through the front door of a home Saturday night.
Around 8:40 p.m., officers with the Hopewell Police Department responded to the 2800 block of Gordon Street for reports of shots being fired. Further investigation revealed that the shooter fired through the front door, hitting an unintended target.
Police arrested Dallas Lee Sydnor, 19, of Hopewell, the next day.
Police Chief John Keohane said when the doorbell to the house was rung that evening, the victim was in the process of opening the door when the shots were fired. The victim suffered non-life threatening injuries, mostly shrapnel wounds to the head and face. He was taken to the hospital, treated and released, police said.
“In essence we’re very lucky he didn’t open the door all the way before the suspect shot at the door,” Keohane said.
Police say Sydnor had gotten into an altercation with a juvenile who lived in the home about an hour prior to the shooting. During that altercation, which occurred at another location, Keohane said Sydnor brandished a firearm.
This incident has Keohane concerned about the behavior of the youth in the community. He said there have been other incidents over the course of the summer involving arguments between different groups of teenagers, with some ending in gunfire.
“It’s definitely a concern,” Keohane said. “The gun play that’s going on mainly with juveniles in the city, it’s nonsense. If they just understood when you’re mad at somebody or you’re beefing with somebody, you don’t go take a gun and shoot at their front door.”
For Keohane, the biggest concern is those who will be subject to injury from this gun violence, especially those who are not involved in the situation, such as the victim who answered the door on Saturday night.
“You never know if a bullet is going to pierce a door, pierce a window and kill somebody,” Keohane said. “It’s just nonsense and this gun play just has to stop.”
As for the guns that are in the hands of the juveniles, Keohane said they could be coming from burglaries as some have been reported as stolen and some could have been bought off the street. Keohane said the age range that is posing the biggest concern is 15 to 19 years of age.
With the new school year right around the corner, Keohane and his officers are taking steps to be proactive in the community to try and reach out to the youth and spread the message that violence is not the way to solve conflicts and such behavior can lead to life-altering consequences, such as it did with Sydnor.
“His whole life is really changing based on this event,” Keohane said. “He’s no longer a juvenile. He’s an adult and he’s going to have to deal with an adult system with some serious felony charges.”
After the incident, officers had developed a lead on a suspect vehicle. An hour after the shooting, officers with the Uniform Patrol Division stopped the car, which had several occupants inside. This led to the arrest of Sydnor.
Sydnor is currently being held at Riverside Regional Jail without bond. He is charged with malicious wounding, shooting into an occupied dwelling, use of firearm in the commission of a felony and brandishing a firearm.
Keohane is urging parents of these juveniles in the community to be involved in their child’s life, mainly by reaching out and checking what is on their social media pages, such as Facebook and Twitter. He said parents would be amazed at what they would find.
More recently, Keohane said two parents out of the group of teens that have been “beefing” with each other, took the time to look at their children’s social media sites and, as Keohane had predicted, were “amazed” at what they found.
“In reference to criminal activity and how they talked to people through social media, how they treat people and the threats that they’ve put on there,” Keohane said of what was found. “Parents need to be accountable to their children and really need to help us out in this venue.”
He added that many of these children are using aliases on these social media sites, so parents should be aware of all aspects, because if not Keohane said they might not know where to check.
When school starts back up in the coming weeks, Keohane said he, along with some other officers, will be going to the schools and having discussions with the students to let them know that their actions have consequences.
“I’ll be talking to all the assemblies again just saying do the right thing because the path this gentleman [Sydnor] took is going to destroy his life and it’s going to destroy other people’s lives,” Keohane said. “That one bullet hits the wrong person because you did something stupid, it’s going to change your path and your life completely.”
Keohane said the officers will be meeting with the school administration to let them know what has been occurring throughout the summer.
“School is a learning environment and we plan on keeping it a learning environment and we’re going to try to weed out these kids that are involved,” Keohane said.