Lancaster Police seeking help in 15 year-old unsolved homicide

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.


LANCASTER, Pa. — The Lancaster City Bureau of Police Criminal Investigation Division are seeking assistance with a 15 year-old unsolved homicide case.

On July 4,  2002, at about 3:07 a.m., police were dispatched to the 100 block of Dauphin Street for a reported shooting. Arriving officers found a man lying on the ground in an just off of the 100 block of Dauphin Street. The man had been shot one time in in the neck and was dead on scene. The victim was later identified as Victor Manuel Melendez Jr., known to his friends and family as “Shorty.”

Melendez was 29 years old at the time of his death. Investigators learned that Melendez was walking in the 100 block of Dauphin Street prior to being shot.

Witnesses described a vehicle, occupied by 3 males, that drove into the block prior to the shooting. The occupants called Melendez over to their vehicle. Melendez had a brief conversation with the occupants and then one of them shot him. The vehicle then took off.

Witnesses heard the shot and discovered Melendez’s body on the ground. When police arrived, Melendez was found lying on the ground.

The vehicle is described as a burgundy or purple colored four-door-sedan, possibly a Pontiac. It had “paint chips” or paint flaking off the trunk area.

The suspects are described as:

Suspect #1:

light skinned male, possibly mid-20’s

described as having a chubby face with corn-row style or braided hair


Suspect #2:

dark skinned black male, approx 17-19 years old.

described as having a whtie towel or cloth draped over his head and a fade style haircut


Suspect #3:

unknown black male, approx 17-19 years old.

wearing a navy blu eor black t-shirt.

Over the last 15 years, numerous people have provided information or been interviewed by investigators, but investigators still need additional information.

The case has been featured in Lancaster City/County crime stoppers and a reward has been offered, however the case has remained unsolved.

Investigators have remained in contact with members of Melendez’ family and would like to solve the case to give them closure.

Anyone with info is asked to call Lancaster City PD at 717-735-3300 or Lancaster City-County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-322-1913.