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Ten people died by homicide in 2022 in Lancaster County, four fewer than in 2021. One of the homicides was committed by a man who also took his own life by suicide.

Six men are charged with criminal homicide in the deaths of six victims. Unlike in recent years, no juveniles are among those charged. All but one of the killings were done with guns. 

As of Friday, no one has been charged in three of the deaths, all of which happened in Lancaster city toward the end of the year.

Homicide is a death at the hands of another person. Prosecutors decide if a homicide is a crime. LNP | LancasterOnline’s annual count generally does not include homicide by vehicle cases, though this year one such case is listed based on the totality of the circumstances. 

LNP is not counting the Oct. 18 death of an infant, 15-month-old Angelo Torres, who city police said was shot by a 3 year old. The case is still under investigation and no charges have been filed in connection with how the toddler obtained the firearm.

The cases

• Joel Ayala Jr., 21, of East Hempfield, is charged with shooting his sister, Linnette Ayala, 22, multiple times in the head on March 10. Police responded to the Ayala family home for a mental health call concerning him three hours before Joel Ayala Sr. called 911 to report finding his daughter’s body wrapped in blankets in the garage. Ayala Jr. has pleaded not guilty; his case has not been scheduled for trial.

• Carlos Almanzar-Torres, 22, of Lancaster, is charged with criminal homicide in the shooting death of 19-year-old Damian Santiago of Lancaster during a fight at A-Plus Sunoco, 111 West Orange St. near North Prince Street on March 14 at 10:17 p.m., Lancaster city police said in a news release. His case has not been scheduled for trial.

Tyler Jamel Wilson, 28, of Columbia, is charged with shooting Jatavis D. Scott, on March 19 at Club Twenty3 in Manheim Township. Wilson and Scott were fighting near the club's doors before the shooting occurred, according to charging documents. The two men were separated and then began walking back toward each other when Wilson shot Scott from about three feet away, police said. He has pleaded not guilty; his case has not been scheduled for trial.

• Christofer Pineda-Gasca, 21, of North East, Maryland, is charged with third-degree murder and related crimes after police said he led officers on a high-speed chase that ended when he crashed into 32-year-old Alicia Whisler’s vehicle outside Conestoga Christian School in Caernarvon Township on April 4. He has pleaded not guilty; his case has not been scheduled for trial. Whisler, a teacher at the school, died and her 5-year-old child also was seriously injured. 

• Miguel Angel Rodriguez, 38, of East Hempfield Township, is charged with shooting his girlfriend, Nemesis Florentino, 33, in their apartment in the 2000 block of Swarr Run Road on Sept. 11. He has pleaded not guilty; his case has not been scheduled for trial. Rodriguez is also charged with shooting at police during a standoff, which ended when an officer shot him.

• James Earl Pilgrim Jr., 29, of Columbia, is charged with shooting Lamar Lewis, 41, of Philadelphia, on Nov. 30 in the 200 block of North Second Street, Columbia. Pilgrim is also accused of shooting Dawayne Lucas, 36, of Columbia, in the leg. Pilgrim is awaiting a preliminary hearing. 

• Derek Stewart, 36, of Lancaster, shot and killed his girlfriend, Courtney D. Cooper, 35, in their apartment in the 900 block of North Lime Street on Dec. 10. Police said he shot and injured two people on East Liberty Street near North Plum Street. They were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. After shooting the two people on East Liberty Street, Stewart shot himself in the backyard of a home in the 400 block of Ross Street. Stewart was taken off life support on Dec. 11.


• Luis Oscar Sanchez, 29, of Lancaster, was killed and security guard Chris Johnson, of Lancaster, was wounded in a shooting at Prince of Subs, 147 S. Prince St., on Nov. 28. Sanchez was a father of two, with a third child on the way. 

• Wakiel Jones Jr., 27, of Lancaster, died of a gunshot wound to the head. His body was found Nov. 30, in the 300 block of South Marshall Street. 

• James Jeffery Diggs, 30, of Lititz, was shot to death Dec. 9 at Ruby and Fourth streets in Lancaster. A blood trail led to a home in the 400 block of Ruby Street where a boy, no age available, was found with gunshot wounds. He was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Anyone with information is asked to call Lancaster city police at 717-735-3301 or Lancaster Crime Stoppers at 800-322-1913. People can also send tips by texting "LANCS" and a message to 847411. All tipsters can remain anonymous.

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