UPDATE: Astor St. Shooting Suspect in Police Custody After Manhunt
Darnell Anderson, of Philadelphia, led police on a manhunt through Norristown's West End after he allegedly shot a man on Astor Street early Tuesday morning.
The Norristown Police Department has confirmed that the suspect in this morning's shooting on the 600 block of Astor Street is in custody, following a more than four hour manhunt through Norristown's West End.
Darnell Anderson, 22, of Philadelphia, was found hiding under the wooden floor of a towing business on the 100 block of West Marshall Street shortly before noon today. When officers found him, he was reportedly covered in mud and wearing only his underwear.
According to Norristown Police Chief Russell Bono, officers responded to 667 Astor Street at approximately 7:20 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23, for a report of a shooting. On the scene, officers encountered one male victim who suffered a gunshot wound to the forearm in what is believed to be a botched home invasion robbery. The man was transported by medevac to a trauma center for treatment and has been released.
Norristown Police, with the help of a Plymouth Police K9 unit, conducted a manhunt for the suspect, described only as a black male wearing a grey shirt and carrying a backback, through Stony Creek and the back streets of the West End. He was reportedly tracked to D&J Towing at 151 West Marshall Street.
Police conducted a search of the premises and discovered several holes on the wooden floor of the business. Officers believed the suspect was hiding under the floor and after calling out and asking him to surrender, the Plymouth K9 officer was sent in to flush him out. Police say the dog could be heard barking and growling, but the suspect made no sound and would not surrender.
Officers recalled the police dog and deployed gas into the space underneath the floor.
"One of the officers thought he had seen a leg or foot," said Chief Bono. "So they put CX gas into the space below the floor, which was filled with mud and water. No response; no one came out. There were no coughs, no gagging. And this stuff is wicked stuff."
Still the suspect made no sound and would not surrender. Finally, two officers donned protective gear and lowered themselves under the floor where they found the suspect, later identified as Anderson, curled in a fetal position between the braces of the floor. He was reportedly shivering, covered in mud and wearing only his underwear. No weapon was recovered.
"They did not find a weapon," said Chief Bono. "It's very possible he ditched [the gun] in the creek, or somewhere along the way in one of the junk cars. So far we have not located a weapon."
Chief Bono expressed gratitude to the Plymouth Police Department and Chief Joseph Lawrence for their assistance in the manhunt and credits his officers' tenacity with the success of the search.
"Lieutenant Clowser did an outstanding job of organizing this search and sticking with it," said Chief Bono. "They did a hell of a job."
Police are still investigating the crime and charges for Anderson have not been established, but Chief Bono confirmed that the Philadelphia man had an extensive criminal record including attempted murder, weapons and drugs possession and aggravated assault charges.
"This guy is a bad actor," said Chief Bono.
Police are still investigating a shooting that occurred shortly before 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning, Oct. 23, in the 600 block of Astor Street near West Oak Street.
There are few details available for the incident, but at least one unidentified victim was flown by helicopter to a trauma center for treatment of a gunshot wound, possibly to the arm or hand.
Authorities have been mounting a search for the alleged shooter for most of the day. According to sources, the suspect was described only as a black male wearing a gray shirt and a backpack.
Police say they are still gathering evidence but will be able to provide on update on the investigation later in the day.
Norristown Patch will update this story as more information becomes available.