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One man dead following officer-involved shooting in Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa. --- Lancaster Bureau of Police say one man is dead following an officer-involved shooting late Monday night.

According to the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office, a neighbor of a home on the 500 block of Pershing Avenue called 9-1-1 around 10 p.m. Monday night.

"[They] reported children that were at the home, yelling that their father was going to kill their mother and that she was being beaten," said Craig Stedman, Lancaster County District Attorney.

When police arrived, investigators say they were told Ricardo Avenia, 29, was holding a 27-year old woman at gunpoint.

“Officers were able to confirm that and we were involved in a shooting with that subject. One of my officers fired a single shot, striking the subject, and, unfortunately, the subject is deceased," said Chief Jarrad Berkihiser with the Lancaster Bureau of Police.

Stedman said no shots were fired at police.

He also said the handgun Avenia allegedly wielded was recovered and the police who responded to the home have been interviewed.

Chief Berkihiser said Monday morning misinformation was being spread through social media and asked that people "be patient" while the investigation continues.

“This not only changes the lives of everyone involved in this incident from the deceased’s family, to the woman that was in the house, the children and my officers. They’re also a part of the community, as a whole, and they never want to come to work and have to take someone’s life. That’s never their intent," said Berkihiser.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Lancaster branch issued the following statement: "The NAACP Lancaster Branch is aware of, on the scene and is investigating a police involved shooting that took place in the City of Lancaster on Sunday evening, September 16, 2018. The NAACP is gathering facts, seeking answers, and calling out for any witnesses with information concerning the police involved shooting. We have also reached out to Public officials, District Attorneys office, members of the family and Law Enforcement in regards to this incident. The NAACP will receive information and review any complaints resulting from use of force, or alleging discrimination by members of the police department or any other victims involved.At this time, the NAACP is still investigating the matter and reserves further comment until further investigation is completed. The NAACP extends condolences to the family and victims involved in this incident."

Friends and neighbors of Avenia, also known as "Macho," said he and the woman had an "up and down" relationship, saying it was "just like everyone else."

They believe the situation could've been handled better by Lancaster City Police, saying they want "justice for Macho."

"They didn't knock on the door, they didn't say Lancaster City Police, they gave no warning at all. They just shot him right through the window," said Valerie Jones.

"Macho was the heart of the block...he could have the worst day and still make me laugh. I think [Lancaster City Police] did it wrong...[Those] kids will never look at a cop the same. They wanted help and [Lancaster City Police] came and they killed him. [They] killed their dad," said Shanay Gantz.

David Gonzalez, who described Avenia as his "best friend," said he was a great person that made everyone laugh.

"He was there for everybody. He was always there for his kid, he was a great dad. He was there for anybody that needed help. Anyone got a bad problem, he was always there to help anybody. What they did here is wrong. It shouldn't stay like this...We want justice for what's been done here." said Gonzalez.

The Lancaster County District Attorney's Office is asking any witnesses to come forward with knowledge of Avenia's relationship with the woman and the events that led up to the incident.