Harrisburg, PA- Pennsylvania state representative Marty Flynn (D-Lackawanna) pulled a gun on teenagers that he said were attempting to rob him and his colleague, fellow state representative Ryan Bizzarro (D-Erie), late Tuesday night.
The two representatives were walking home after dinner at around 11 p.m. when Flynn said two teens approached them, one carrying a gun. The teens then ordered the legislators to surrender their wallets.
Flynn recounted that he initially told the teens that he didn’t have any money, and he noted to himself that the alleged assailants looked quite young. Flynn said that once he realized one of them was holding out a gun, he attempted to covertly retrieve his pistol that he was carrying concealed.
Flynn said that he heard a voice across the street shouting “he’s got something on him!” as he was reaching for his gun. He stopped reaching and put his hands up, and he said the teen then pointed his weapon at Bizzarro, who had started fumbling through his pockets. “So at that moment, I’m like, I pulled the gun and at that moment he saw that I pulled a gun.”
“He shot at Bizzarro, I shot at him, I shot at him again, it was just like a blur to me,” Flynn continued. “It happened so quick. And I ran, Bizzarro ran, I remember he like dove towards, there’s a telephone pole there, towards the pole, and then they ran that way and we ran this way.” No one was shot in the incident.
Flynn said he stayed near the scene of the altercation for a few seconds before heading home to call 911. The alleged gunman was later found and identified by police as 15-year-old Zha-quan McGhee. Police said McGhee will face attempted homicide charges, as well as charges for aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a minor. Three alleged accomplices were also identified: Jamani Ellison, 17, Derek Anderson, 17, and Jyair Leonard, 15. They will be charged with conspiracy, robbery, and violating curfew. All four suspects will be charged as adults, according to police.
Harrisburg chief of police Thomas Carter said that the teens allegedly involved in the incident with Flynn and Bizzarro were also involved in a robbery Monday night in front of the Capitol. According to Pennsylvania state representative and House Republican Campaign Committee chairman Dave Reed (R-Indiana), three Committee members were victimized.
Pennsylvania legislators discussed carrying weapons with them in the aftermath of the two incidents near the Capitol. Senator Rich Alloway (R-Adams) said that he is worried about Harrisburg’s safety. “I have to tell you, I do not carry a firearm, but I’m going to. I’m actually going to go get a permit and I’m going to start carrying. This is crazy what’s going on,” said Alloway.
Representative Mauree Gingrich (R-Lebanon) echoed similar concern. “As a female legislator, we have many meetings after session. Having been in the Capitol all day, a lot of those discussions take place in a nearby restaurant or some place where you can relax,” said Gingrich. “Coming back to the Capitol after dark is definitely a little uncomfortable.”
Senator Matt Smith (D-Mt. Lebanon) disagreed, saying that violence can happen anywhere. “I feel perfectly safe here,” Smith said.