HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The state police investigation into a weekend shooting at a Luzerne County movie theatre is ramping up Tuesday night.
Troopers were back at the scene on Tuesday where say 19-year-old Luis Manuel Luna was shot inside the arcade/lobby area Saturday evening. He later died at the hospital.
Imagine being in a movie theatre and hearing the sound of gunfire, that is exactly what happened Saturday evening at the Regal Cinemas near Hazleton and as of this hour, the shooter remains at large and this community is reacting to the violence.
Gunfire erupted Saturday night inside the Regal Cinemas near Hazleton, where PSP says 19-year-old Luis Manuel Luna was shot as he stood in the arcade-lobby area.
Troopers say the shooting was an isolated incident, and that Luna was apparently targeted by someone. Luna was rushed to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.
On Tuesday Eyewitness News saw a state police forensics team at the movie theatre.
Eyewitness News has also confirmed that PSP has filed a search warrant in the shooting.
Meanwhile, the community is reacting as this shooting was the second in this same area. Gunfire rang out in the parking lot of the nearby Walmart on December 2 and there was a smash-and-grab robbery at DeJesus Jewelry Store inside the nearby Laurel Mall last week.
The mall is increasing security as a result of these incidents. Eyewitness News spoke to the mall manager, Rocco Aruzzo.
“We’re working on beefing up security. We’re going to add security we’re going to add hours to security which they cover the mall anyway. Now we’re going to go into further actions so doing that also looking to update our surveillance,” Aruzzo stated.
Arruzzo says it’s all about keeping people safe.
“When you’re dealing with 65 tenants, eight..close to 900 employees, mall shoppers, you have to think of them and that’s what we are doing,“ Aruzzo added.
Jake Ripa owns Ripa Jewelers inside the Laurel Mall.
“It’s just something I hate to say, we have to get used to but you know if we take precautions on our own I think things will subside,” Ripa said.
Shoppers like Rich Ziminski says it’s all about being aware of what’s happening around you.
“It makes you wary of your surroundings when you go outside. You have to be more careful with what’s going on around you,” Ripa continued.
Luna attended the Hazleton Area School District where Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Brian Uplinger released a statement Tuesday saying, “Luis was a former student of both our high school and our cyber academy. I am devastated by his untimely passing as is the rest of our district personnel. Our thoughts are certainly with his family at this time.”
Uplinger says that grief counselors will be available at the Hazleton Area High School and the Heights Terrace Elementary School Wednesday.
Kevan Kerr, the Manager of Communications for Regal said in a statement, “We received confirmation of a shooting at our Hazleton theatre Saturday evening. At this time, we are working with authorities regarding the investigation. Our primary concern is for the safety and security of our guests and staff.”
Again Eyewitness Mews has confirmed that a search warrant has been filed in this investigation. They have not yet been made public, as for now, the shooter remains at large. But again state troopers are calling this a targeted shooting.