Steven Henshaw: Reading police arrest 2 in special detail that followed complaints of gunfire

  • In US
  • 2021-12-01 04:59:00Z
  • By Reading Eagle, Pa.

Nov. 30-After fielding numerous complaints from Reading residents about gunfire around the 800 block of Church Street, city police organized a directed patrol the night before Thanksgiving that led to the arrest of a 19-year-old resident and a juvenile who live in the same Centre Park District neighborhood.

Elijah Blessing of the 600 block of North Sixth Street was found in possession of a stolen handgun and an extended ammunition magazine, investigators said in a criminal complaint.

He reportedly told officers that he likes to shoot guns because it relieves stress.

He spent the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend in Berks County Prison following arraignment Thursday morning before District Judge Carissa Johnson in Reading Central Court.

Blessing was still being held Tuesday in lieu of $100,000 bail to await a hearing on felony counts of theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number and reckless endangerment.

The juvenile was detained pending a hearing before Berks County juvenile authorities. He faces similar charges.

According to the complaint:

Officers William Fursin III and Sean Heck, who were assigned to the detail, had just arrived at City Hall when a call came in around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday for gunshots, as reported by a resident at Douglas and Church streets.

They responded at emergency speed in the same vehicle to assist two patrol officers who were dispatched to the call.

They knew from past gunfire incidents in that neighborhood that a group of young males had been seen fleeing the alley that runs behind homes in the 800 block of North Sixth Street on one side and the 800 block of Church on the other.

As Heck and Fursin approached Sixth and Oley streets, they saw two males briskly walking southbound in the 700 block of North Sixth with their hands inside their jacket pockets.

The officers got out of the patrol vehicle and ordered the males to stop, saying they wanted to speak with them. One of the males, a juvenile whose name wasn't released, looked at the officers and ran, continuing southbound.

Heck chased and caught him. Further details about the juvenile were not available.

Fursin took hold of the other male, Blessing, pushing him against a parked vehicle.

As he handcuffed Blessing, Fursin asked if he had any weapons. Blessing said he had a gun in his pants pocket.

The officer removed a .380 caliber pistol and saw the serial number was difficult to read because of multiple scratches.

The gun was unloaded, but while searching Blessing for more weapons Fursin found an extended magazine that contained two live .380 rounds.

The search of the firearm on a law enforcement database indicated it was reported stolen in Harrisburg.

Blessing said he had entered the alley from a convenience store at Fifth and Spring streets. While walking south, he said he fired one shot, and that's when he told officers that he likes to shoot guns because it relieves stress.


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