Rahmir Hopkins

Rahmir Hopkins, 14, of Lancaster, was arrested in the Oct. 9, 2019, shooting of Luis A. Perez, 25, of Lancaster.

Lancaster police have charged a 14-year-old boy with killing Luis A. Perez in the southeast part of the city Wednesday.

Rahmir I. Hopkins is one of the youngest people to be charged with homicide in Lancaster County history, government and newspaper records show. The youngest to be charged with a killing in modern history here was 13.

Under Pennsylvania law, juveniles accused of homicide must be charged as adults.

Hopkins, accompanied by a parent, surrendered to detectives in the lobby of the city police station shortly before noon Thursday. He was charged with a single count of homicide in the fatal shooting in the 600 block of South Lime Street, about a block east of King Elementary School and west of Hand Middle School.

Police had issued an arrest warrant for Hopkins earlier Thursday on charges of homicide and two firearms violations. He was charged as an adult.

Detectives searched for Hopkins at several locations Thursday but were unable to locate him, according to police.

Hopkins is accused of shooting Perez, 25, to death Wednesday afternoon near South Lime and Juniata streets. Police said witnesses told them there was a verbal dispute involving Perez and three men. The dispute turned physical, a shot was fired and Perez was struck in the torso, police said.

According to charging documents, a detective who happened to be working nearby responded to the block after hearing the shot. He discovered Perez lying in the street and tried to help him. Lancaster city firefighters and EMS responded to the scene, but Perez was dead, police said.

Police said they are trying to confirm the identities of the two men who were with Hopkins at the time of the shooting.

The School District of Lancaster said Hopkins was last enrolled at the Phoenix Academy alternative school at the 8th grade level. 

The youngest Lancaster County resident to be charged with homicide in recent decades was Ricardo "Richie" Cruz, who was 13 when he fired a gun at a rival boy near a city school in 1992, according to newspaper records. The bullet instead struck an 18-year-old bystander, Debbie Rivera, in the head, killing her instantly. Cruz was later convicted of the crime.

He initially received a life sentence, as did two others who were 14 when they were charged here: Levar Jones, who shot and killed taxi driver Brian Whetts during a robbery in Lancaster in 1995, and Gregory Sourbeer, who shot and killed his mother, Fannie Sourbeer, with a shotgun at their Columbia home in 1976.

All three were resentenced in 2018 following a U.S. Supreme Court decision that life sentences for juveniles were unconstitutional. 

Anyone with information about the shooting should call city police at 717-735-3300 or Lancaster City-County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-322-1913. Tips can be submitted at lancasterpolice.com and by texting LANCS plus your message to 847411.