WILKES-BARRE – It's not that the area is magnet for fugitives, a law enforcement official said. Instead they end up here while fleeing from where they committed their crimes.
Most of them are taken into custody and not killed in a shootout with police like Robert Montgomery was on Friday morning.
Four other men wanted on homicide charges in other states and in one case, another country were apprehended in the city since March.
Montgomery, 29, wanted for attempted murder and other charges in Philadelphia, shot at members of a fugitive task force who came to arrest him at his father's apartment in the Sherman Hills complex. His 61-year-old father, Robert J. Montgomery, and Wilkes-Barre Police Sgt. Matthew Stash, 43, were wounded in the gunfight.
U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Marty Pane said members of his department were among the task force involved in the fatal shootout. They developed information on the younger Montgomery's whereabouts, he said.
By definition fugitives are always on the run, he added.
"Obviously those people are fleeing to towns where they may have family or they're just trying to get away from where that crime occurred," Pane said.
Montgomery's flight from Philadelphia is similar to a wanted suspect leaving Wilkes-Barre. The difference, however, is Philadelphia has a greater crime rate, he said.
"The nexus is more so about how much crime is being committed in that town and them leaving that area. I wouldn't say that they're coming here to Wilkes-Barre or anything for any particular reason other than that," Pane said.
He ruled out employment as a deciding factor in their relocation, saying, "Violent offenders such as Mr. Montgomery tend to not be looking for work."
It's critical the task force apprehend the suspects sooner rather than later because violent offenders tend to continue with their criminal ways, he said.
"Mr. Montgomery fits that mold. When you go after the worst of the worst, things can happen," Pane said.
Last month a task force raided an apartment at Scott and Mundy streets in search of the Staten Island, N.Y. homicide suspect 26-year-old Adam Kamagate. On June 5 the U.S. Marshals Service looked for Kamagate at the Hanover Village apartment complex.
They got their men other times.
On June 13 the Marshals Service New York/New Jersey regional fugitive task force captured Namer Yousef Al Daoud, 44, in the 1100 block of South Main Street. He was wanted for the 1992 murder of his sister in Jordan. The marshals transferred him to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
According to The Times Leader archives, other arrests include:
• April 9, Rasshammach Roberts, 29, wanted for a deadly shooting in West Virginia, apprehended in a residence in the 100 block of Old River Road.
• March 26, Clifton Sykes, 45, wanted for a fatal stabbing in Newark, N.J., apprehended at a house on South Hancock Street.
• Sept. 29, 2010, Marcus Bascus, 19, of East Orange, N.J., wanted for providing the gun used in a deadly shooting of a Seton Hall University student, apprehended in an apartment at building 316 of the Sherman Hills complex. Isaiah Kelly, 25, of Irvington, N.J., wanted for failing to register his address as a sexual offender was caught in the apartment with Bascus.
• Sept. 29, 2010 Milique Wagner, 22, wanted for a fatal shooting in Philadelphia on Feb. 11, apprehended a residence on Cuba Street, Kingston.
• Jan. 15, 2009, Naquan Tyreek Knight, 31, of Philadelphia, wanted as a person of interest in a New York City shooting in May 2008, apprehended at the Wilkes-Barre Lodge motel on Kidder Street.
• July 18, 2008, Charles Carter, 22, wanted in a fatal shooting in May in Brooklyn, N.Y., apprehended in an apartment in Building 332 at the Sherman Hills complex.