HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A newspaper editor was shot on a Hazleton City street Wednesday evening and investigators say it was the result of a long-running feud between the victim and the alleged gunman.
28/22 News first told you about the shooting Thursday morning.
The alleged gunman, Victor Perez, is a prominent member of the Hazleton Area community. The I-Team spoke to the shooting victim who says he feared for his life.
Gunfire erupted just before 6:00 p.m. in the 100 block of South Vine Street when police say Victor Perez shot Bernardo Perez.
According to a criminal complaint, the shooting was the end result of an ongoing feud between the two men.
Victor Perez told police he confronted Bernardo Perez about derogatory comments made about his family in a Spanish-language newspaper that Bernardo publishes. Victor Perez insists that Bernardo threatened him with a knife. He fired three shots at Bernardo, striking him once on the arm.
The i-team spoke with Bernardo, through an interpreter, about the incident. 28/22 News told him that Victor Perez claimed that he came at him with a knife.
“That is not true. When he was unloading his car Mr. Perez showed up there and started shooting,” said Bernardo.
Bernardo Perez says the shooting never should have happened.
“He believes that it went too far. This went too far, starting with a dispute about pictures about art. Mr. Perez asked Mr. Perez to keep back all the time. He came threatening him with a gun,” Bernardo added.
Victor Perez is President of the Dominican House of Hazleton. A Latino advocacy organization that ironically on the same day of the shooting, Victor Perez’s photo was on the front page of the Hazleton Standard-Speaker.
The city announced it was applying for a state grant to help the Dominican House. Perez has also been outspoken about recent violence in Hazleton often speaking out at public meetings.
“Right now this kind of criminal action impacts everybody,” said Victor Perez in February 2023.
Amilcar Arroyo who also publishes a Spanish-language newspaper, says this incident shook the Latino community.
“The community is in shock. They don’t know why he went too far, why one guy used a gun to solve a problem. There are other ways to do it,” explained Arroyo.
Victor Perez remains locked up Thursday night and the I-Team went to the Dominican House seeking comment, but a person there said they did not want to say anything.