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I-Team: Police still seeking leads in Plains Township hotel shooting

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PLAINS TOWNSHIP, EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s been three months since three people were shot inside the Holiday Inn East Mountain in Plains Township, Luzerne County.

One man was killed and two others were injured. Investigators say while they continue working leads in the case, they have been unable to make any arrests.

Plains Township police say it’s been a challenge to get people to cooperate in this investigation. Plus, there are other factors they say that are hindering their efforts in making an arrest.

Police from the Wilkes-Barre area converged on the Holiday Inn East Mountain in Plains Township just before 1 a.m. on November 11th of 2020. After receiving reports that shots were fired inside Room 713, according to search warrants filed in the case that were obtained by the I-Team, a witness who was shot and survived said that he and 10 other people were in the room recording a music video when a man with a hood pulled up over his head and possibly wearing a mask opened fire.

29-year-old Rendell Joseph Dixon was killed. The man who described what happened as well as a woman were badly wounded. According to those same search warrant affidavits, Dixon fled through the balcony door and climbed over to the balcony of the next room, 715, where police found him deceased.

Three months later — and no arrests. Plains Township police tell the I-Team while they are working leads in the case, their efforts have been hindered somewhat by several factors:

  • Uncooperative witnesses
  • Witnesses not coming forward
  • Masks worn for COVID-19 hindering facial recognition on hotel video surveillance

Source: Plains Twp. Police Department

The I-Team spoke with attorney Tom Marsilio who has prosecuted criminal cases in federal, state and local courtrooms. He is not involved in this investigation but he says the COVID-19 masks provide an entirely new dynamic in cases such as this.

“Well the whole mask situation creates a situation of, shall I say. anonymity in that people have their faces covered. Facial recognition does not work as a tool for law enforcement and whoever is at the scene but they don’t recognize the perpetrator as a result of the mask that the person is wearing.”

As for uncooperative or unwilling witnesses,

“Most people, or some people I should say, don’t want to get involved. They don’t want to get involved, they’re afraid of law enforcement, afraid of going to court. They are afraid of appearing in court and testifying.”

And he says in some cases,

“A lot of reasons are fear… Fear of retribution from individuals.”

Plains Township police urge anyone with information about this deadly shooting to give them a call.

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