Sep. 17—Police seized about 30 pounds of marijuana, some packaged for street sale, and a large amount of money at a Reading residence where a Kenhorst man was fatally shot in June, court documents available Friday showed.
The previously undisclosed discovery of the drug-distribution operation resulted from a search warrant obtained by city detectives for a brick row home in the 600 block of North 10th Street where Orlando Rodriguez, 32, was shot multiple times shortly before 12:30 a.m. on June 17, the documents show.
On Thursday, Reading police announced the arrest of a suspect in the killing of Rodriguez.
Magnum A. Morrison, 25, of the 1000 block of Windsor Street was committed to Berks County Prison without bail after arraignment before District Judge Kim L. Bagenstose in Reading Central Court to await a hearing on charges of first- and second-degree murder, conspiracy, robbery and related counts.
In the arrest affidavit, investigators said video footage from security cameras of nearby homes as well as cellular data collected from Morrison's cellphone connected him to the crime.
And, they said, Morrison wasn't alone.
According to police paperwork:
Police were first dispatched to Reading Hospital, where Rodriguez was taken by private vehicle. Officers were informed that someone in a car dropped off Rodriguez then drove away.
Two women were at the hospital and reported they had rendered aid to Rodriguez after he suffered multiple gunshots.
They said they were at a friend's first-floor apartment in the 600 block of North 10th, cooking food in the backyard, when Rodriguez called from inside the home saying he had been shot.
Numerous officers responded to that location and located a blood trail near the south end of the block that led to the first-floor apartment in the middle-of-row home.
They made contact with the occupant of the apartment.
Inside, they observed blood on the living room floor. They secured the crime scene and the occupant was taken to City Hall for questioning.
In the meantime, Rodriguez died at 7:55 a.m., about seven hours after he was dropped off.
One woman told investigators she and her two friends had been in the backyard since the early evening, cooking on the barbecue grill. Late in the evening, Rodriguez arrived at her apartment, from which she and Rodriguez would sell marijuana.
That prompted the search warrant and the discovery of the marijuana.
She invited Rodriguez to join them outside but he declined.
Sometime after midnight, she heard several pops, but she dismissed them as the sounds of firecrackers.
About 12:30 a.m. she received a call from Rodriguez, who told her he had been shot.
She and her friend ran inside and encountered a wounded Rodriguez on the sofa. They began administering first aid.
Someone called a relative of Rodriguez to take him to the hospital. The male relative arrived in a car and the women assisted in placing the victim in the car.
A further police account:
Investigators obtained footage that purports to show Morrison and three other males entering the crime scene about 12:20 a.m.
That footage shows a newer-model silver Ford Fusion traveling southbound through the 800, 700 and 600 blocks of North 10th Street before parking at 10th and Greenwich.
Two men are seen getting out and crossing the street toward the apartment. One of them appears to be Black with long dreadlocks, some of which are dyed a lighter color, and he's later identified as Morrison.
Two other males get out and followed into the apartment.
At 12:24 a.m., the last two males to enter are seen running back to the car.
Just before they reached the car a loud "pop' is captured on audio. Moments later Morrison and the other male are seen leaving the apartment and walking to the now-double-parked car and entering the front and rear passenger side.
A still image captured from the footage was circulated of the two suspects who last exited the home.
On June 25, eight days after the killing, three officers working a detail from an unmarked patrol vehicle observed a man they believed to be one of the suspects based on the still image.
He was identified as Morrison.
Officers obtained Morrison's cellphone records to gather data on cellular tower hits, suggesting the location of the phone at various points immediately before the shooting.
One of the coordinates showed the cellphone pinged a tower located in the 500 block of North 10th Street, just a block from the shooting, at almost the exact time the shot is audible on security camera footage.
It was unclear if charges have been filed in the drug distribution.