Lancaster man charged with the Dec. 10 shooting death of a 22-year-old male victim

LANCASTER — A Lancaster man has been charged in a Dec. 10 shooting that claimed the life of a 22-year-old victim, according to Lancaster City police.

Raymond Torres Jr., 24, of the 700 block of Bay Street, has been charged with one count of Criminal Homicide, one count of Persons Not to Possess Firearms, and one count of Firearms Not to Be Carried Without a License, police say.

Torres is currently in custody at Camp Hill Prison on an unrelated matter, police say.

The shooting occurred at 1:36 a.m. on the 700 block of First Street, police say. Officers on the scene discovered a male victim, later identified as Austin Peters, 22, lying on the sidewalk. He had been shot several times in the upper torso and neck and was taken to Lancaster General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

An autopsy performed the next day by the Lancaster County Coroner’s Office determined that the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds and the manner of death was homicide.

Several 9mm shell casings were found at the scene, police say.

Investigators conducted several witness interviews and gathered surveillance video footage from the surrounding area. Their investigation led them to Torres, who had allegedly been with the victim earlier in the evening. Using footage from surveillance cameras in the area, police say they were able to piece together a chain of events that began about an hour before the shooting occurred — including footage of Torres and the victim walking together around the neighborhood.

According to police, about an hour before the homicide, officers responded to the 300 block of Coral Street for a report of shots fired. The officers were unable to located any victims or witnesses at that scene, but investigators later obtained video footage that showed Peters walking on the street with Torres, who is seen holding and firing a handgun into the air.

Torres and the victim were seen together a short time later at a store in the 600 block of Columbia Avenue, police say.

Torres was observed on video again, walking with the victim near Ruby Street and Columbia Avenue.   Torres can be seen on video removing a firearm from the front of his body and “racking” the slide.

Video footage also depicts the victim and Torres walking on Ruby Street and crossing over toward the 700 block of First Street at approximately 1:32 a.m., police say.

The shooting of Peters occurred less than four minutes later, at 1:36 a.m.

On Jan. 16, police interviewed a witness who reported he had several conversations with Torres about the shooting of “a white guy.” Torres allegedly told the witness that he had been at a party, and after the party he and “the white guy” had walked around together, police say.

The witness said Torres told him he and “the white guy” went to a store, and that after they left, he shot the victim in the neck and upper body with a 9mm handgun, police say.