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Man charged in connection to April double homicide in Cornwall

CORNWALL, LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. --- Gilberto Torres-Reyes, 37, of Reading is charged with two counts of criminal homicide, illegal possession of a firearm, reckless endangerment of another person and fleeing apprehension.

These charges were filed on Thursday in connection to a double homicide on April 9.

According to investigators, at around 10:15 on the night of April 9, Cornwall Police Chief Bruce Harris said they were alerted to a car crash involving gunshots on Route 72 South near the Route 322 overpass.

“It was somewhat of a chaotic scene at the time but, ultimately, there were two individuals lying on Route 72,” said Harris.

Court documents say Alexis Perez-Garcia, 27, of Reading was shot once in the back and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Jelson Ortiz, 34, was shot twice, once in the back and head, and later died at Hershey Medical Center.

Lebanon County District Attorney David Arnold, Jr. said they believe Torres-Reyes shot the two men from the back seat of the car while it was moving and caused the crash.

Investigators say that same day, Torres-Reyes robbed a bank in Wyomissing, Berks County.

“The information given to us and what we intend to prove at trial is that the two men he wound up killing were actually paid by him to drive him to Pittsburgh and flee the scene of the robbery he just committed at the bank,” said Arnold.

According to court documents, a witness told investigators Torres-Reyes offered each of the men $400, which investigators say was on the men at the scene of the crash.

Investigators say they were tipped that Torres-Reyes went to a hospital in New York City to tend to injuries sustained in the crash.

Harris said U.S. Marshals were then notified and Torres-Reyes was arrested in New York on April 13, stemming from violating parole during the bank robbery.

Harris said Torres-Reyes was a suspect of the double homicide at that time.

He said Cornwall Police put in hundreds of hours of travel, interviews and evidence testing, including DNA analysis of a cigarette butt found in the car to build their case against Torres-Reyes.

However, he said they still don’t have a motive for the shooting.

“You can imagine we’re a small agency to deal with a double homicide, which Cornwall Borough has never had. I’ve been here 43 years, we have never had a double homicide,” said Harris.

Torres-Reyes was transported from SCI Phoenix in Montgomery County Tuesday morning and is being held in the Lebanon County prison without bail.