ASHLEY – A Wilkes-Barre man faces a laundry list of charges after a drive-by shooting in Ashley Friday night.
Edwin Cortez, 36, of Monroe Street in Wilkes-Barre, was charged with possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment, discharging a weapon into an occupied structure, simple assault, carrying a firearm without a license, disorderly conduct, possession of an offensive weapon, and terroristic threats.
Nobody was injured in the shooting.
According to arrest papers:
Police were dispatched to 102 N. Main St. in Ashley on a report of a silver vehicle was stopped in front of the home and several shot were fired into a home. The vehicle was seen traveling toward Wilkes-Barre and city police were notified.
While interviewing witnesses, Ashley Patrolman Kyle Gilmartin was notified that Wilkes-Barre Police had the vehicle and a weapon after a car crash at Blackman and Phoenix streets. The driver, Edwin Cortez, was in custody and a witnesses reported another male fled.
Police found an assault rifle about 20-30 feet from the vehicle in the bed of a pickup behind a home. A witness said he saw the passenger drop the weapon in a front yard as he fled. Cortez then exited the passenger door, picked up the weapon and ran behind the house. The weapon was recovered in the pickup near that house.
After being read his Miranda rights, Cortez said twice, “I didn’t do (expletive), I’m a car salesman.”
The weapon was identified as a .223 caliber Ruger Mini 14 assault rifle and there was one spent .223 casing in plain view in Cortez’s vehicle.
Police then located the occupant of the home and owner of the vehicle that was shot up in Ashley. The victim told police he and Cortez were once associates and did business together, but had an argument last week at an auction.
Cortez admitted he was the owner and driver of the vehicle, but he did not admit to being inside the vehicle at the time of the shooting. Cortez told police he was drinking with an unidentified male on Thursday and the two were discussing Cortez’s argument with the victim. The unidentified man told Cortez he would take care of his problem if Cortez “gave him a good deal on a vehicle.”
Cortez sold his car to the unidentified male for $1,400 and for shooting up the victim’s home, Cortez told police.
Cortez denied being in the car at the time of the shooting and told police he was picked up subsequently.
Police said his statements are inconsistent with statements from multiple witnesses.
Cortez was arraigned before District Judge Diana Malast of Plains Township and was taken to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $100,000 bail. Malast said Cortez is already on unsecured bail for an unrelated trial in Luzerne County Court set to begin on Feb. 24. He also has a sentencing hearing scheduled in another jurisdiction. According to Times Leader archives, Cortez charged with with aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment after a stabbing at a Hanover Township bar.
A preliminary hearing was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 28 before District Judge Joseph Halesey of Hanover Township.