UPDATE: Teen shot during botched drug deal in Freeland dies

By Ed Lewis & Dan Stokes - [email protected]
Brandon Joseph Gambardella, 18, right, is seen being led to arraignment Monday. He stands accused of shooting Anthony Bonney, 17, earlier Monday in Freeland over an alleged drug deal gone wrong. - Courtesy of WNEP
Gambardella - Courtesy of WNEP

UPDATE: A 17-year-old Freeland teen who state police said was shot during a botched drug deal early Monday morning has died.

Anthony Bonney died Monday afternoon at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township, according to the Luzerne County Coroner’s Office.

An autopsy is pending.

State police arrested Brandon Joseph Gambardella, 18, of West Hazleton, hours after the shooting charging him with two counts of aggravated assault.

It was not immediately known Tuesday morning if authorities plan to upgrade charges to criminal homicide against Gambardella.

Investigators allege Bonney passed off a mixture of drywall shavings and baking soda as cocaine to Gambardella.

FREELAND — A West Hazleton man is behind bars and a teenager clinging to life after a drug deal ended in gunfire early Monday, state police said.

Brandon Joseph Gambardella, 18, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault following his alleged shooting of Anthony Bonney, 17.

Troopers allege that Gambardella was angry after Bonney passed off a mixture of drywall shavings and baking soda as cocaine.

According to a state police affidavit:

Gambardella agreed via Facebook messenger to meet Anthony Bonney and James Joseph Shanda to purchase cocaine for $110. Bonney and the other male did not have the drug, but went ahead with the plan anyway.

Gambardella was driven by two females to the transaction location in Freeland Borough.

Bonney and Shanda approached the car at about 1:45 a.m. and completed the transaction. But then Gambardella said he wanted to test the cocaine, and the males fled. Gambardella began to chase them.

Moments later, the females heard gunfire, they told troopers later.

When Gambardella returned to the vehicle he allegedly told them “he did not mean for the shooting to happen,” the affidavit states. The alleged weapon was described as a dark semi-automatic handgun.

Shanda told investigators he heard the gunshot fire and saw Bonney fall to the ground on Sabol Street. Shanda then called 911.

Bonney was flown to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township where he is listed in critical condition and is on life support, state police said.

Gambardella was arraigned by District Judge Daniel O’Donnell in Conyngham and jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility without bail.

Brandon Joseph Gambardella, 18, right, is seen being led to arraignment Monday. He stands accused of shooting Anthony Bonney, 17, earlier Monday in Freeland over an alleged drug deal gone wrong.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_WNEP_gambardella-6.jpgBrandon Joseph Gambardella, 18, right, is seen being led to arraignment Monday. He stands accused of shooting Anthony Bonney, 17, earlier Monday in Freeland over an alleged drug deal gone wrong. Courtesy of WNEP

Gambardella
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_Brandon-Gambardella-06182018-1.jpgGambardellaCourtesy of WNEP

By Ed Lewis & Dan Stokes

[email protected]