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Coroner identifies 2 killed in chaotic night of gunfire in Allentown

Ridge Avenue shooting in Allentown
Jim Deegan
Allentown police investigate in the 300 block of Ridge Avenue, just south of West Gordon Street, on Friday night, Dec. 29, 2023. Police were summoned to reports of gunfire at two locations -- on Ridge Avenue and just a few blocks away at a home in the 100 block of Chestnut Street, where two people were found dead, authorities said.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Lehigh County coroner has identified the victims who died in a chaotic night of gunfire in the city late Friday.

Killed were Ada Ortiz, 44, and 1-year-old Sebastian Serrano, both of Allentown.

Lehigh County Coroner Daniel Buglio ruled the deaths as homicides. He said autopsies were performed Tuesday and ruled both victims died of gunshot wounds.

The two victims were found in a house in the 100 block of Chestnut Street, according to Lehigh County District Attorney Gavin Holihan.

A third victim, a 66-year-old man, also was shot in the home but was expected to survive, police said.

It was one of three incidents of violence in the city late Friday and early Saturday that left eight people shot.

Police Capt. Daniel Gross said Tuesday that investigators believe the three shootings were not connected and were separate incidents.

He would not elaborate on the relationship between the child and Ortiz.

"Due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing homicide investigation, we are not releasing any additional information nor confirming additional details at this time," Gross said after Buglio released his findings.

"We have no new information to release on the other two shootings Fri/Sat either, but they still appear to be unrelated to the homicide.

"We believe these were isolated events, so at this time there does not appear to be any ongoing danger to the general public from any of these events."

More gunshots blocks away

As police arrived at Chestnut Street about 9 p.m. Friday, between Ridge Avenue and North Wood Street in the First Ward, they were called to reports of more gunfire about four blocks north near Ridge Avenue and West Gordon Street.

A man and a woman suffered serious gunshot wounds at that location, and both were expected to survive, police said.

Police said they arrested Demetrius Bashir Campbell, 23, of Allentown, almost immediately upon their arrival. He is charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, carrying a firearm without a license and related charges.

A second suspected shooter has yet to be identified or apprehended, according to police.

A third incident

Less than six hours later, around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, police were called to a third shooting in the 1600 block of Hanover Avenue in the city’s East Side. Three people were shot there, none fatally, according to police.

Investigators do not believe any of the three shootings were connected.

Civic, political and religious leaders gathered in Allentown on Sunday afternoon to call for action to end the gun violence.

Anyone with information about the incidents or who may have witnessed them is asked to call the Allentown Police Criminal Investigations Division at 610-437-7721, or make an anonymous tip through the Allentown Police Tip411 app.

The shootings are being investigated by the Allentown Police Criminal Investigations Division and the Lehigh County Homicide Task Force, as well as the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office and the Lehigh County Coroner’s Office.