Lancaster Sunday News | By Bernard Harris and Tom Knapp
Lancaster residents were so angry about the drive-by shooting of a 7-year-old girl last month that many overcame their usual reluctance to talk to police about what they saw or heard in connection to the crime.
City police Chief Keith Sadler on Saturday said that willingness to talk with police led directly to Friday's arrest of Rene Ruiz-Mayo, a 27-year-old city man who now stands accused of the shooting.
"Because that crime outraged so many people, we got a lot more information than we usually do," Sadler said.
"People weren't afraid to tell us anything that might be connected to the crime," he said. "We got a lot of calls."
Ruiz-Mayo has been charged with aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person for the shooting, which happened on the first block of West James Street.
City police captured him late Friday after a foot chase that ended with him hiding under the porch of a nearby home.
The girl, who has not been publicly identified, was playing outside her home with her sister at about 8:20 p.m. Oct. 18 when the shooting happened near James and Market streets. Her mother and stepfather were nearby, police said.
The girl was struck by bullets at least three times in the legs and torso, newspaper records show. She was scooped up by her stepfather, who began to run the two blocks to Lancaster General Hospital until a stranger in a car drove them the rest of the way there, witnesses said.
Once at the hospital, she was stabilized, then airlifted to Hershey Medical Center, where she underwent several surgeries.
Sadler said Saturday the "best resolution ... would have been catching him that same night."
"You don't want a criminal like that roaming the streets," he said.