This article was originally published on GoErie.com by Tim Hahn on February 8, 2019
A late-afternoon shooting that wounded two Chicago men outside of a hotel on Erie’s bayfront on Thursday was a “drug deal gone bad” and led to the seizure of a significant quantity of suspected heroin at the scene, Erie police Deputy Chief Mike Nolan said late Friday morning.
The shooting took place in the parking area directly in front of the Courtyard by Marriott Erie Bayfront Hotel when a dark-colored sport-utility vehicle pulled up and some other people, including the two men from Chicago, approached the vehicle. The occupants of the SUV began firing gunshots and someone outside of the vehicle returned fire, and during the exchange of gunfire a bullet hit a window of the hotel’s bar, Nolan said.
One of the men from Chicago was shot in the chest and was in critical but stable condition at UPMC Hamot on Friday morning, according to police. The other man shot was struck in the foot and was in police custody Thursday morning facing criminal charges in the incident.
The names of the two wounded men had not been released as of late Friday morning. Nolan said investigators are still working to confirm their identities.
It was unknown Friday morning if anyone in the SUV, who fled after the shooting, was injured in the exchange of gunfire, Nolan said. He said there were a number of witnesses to the shooting, and it was fortunate that no innocent people were injured, he said.
The search for the shooting suspects continued on Friday. Nolan said investigators are sorting through a large amount of surveillance video from security cameras at and around the hotel in an effort to identify everyone involved. Investigators also received a lot of information from the numerous witnesses, he said.
“There’s not going to be any secrets here. We will see the events leading up to it and after,” Nolan said.
The shooting was reported on Thursday at 5:49 p.m. when officers were dispatched to 2 Sassafras Pier on a report of an active shooting at the Courtyard by Marriott Erie Bayfront Hotel. Responding officers arrived quickly and encountered a Chevrolet Impala that was leaving the area, and the officers stopped the car and found the two Chicago men who were shot inside the vehicle, Nolan said.
Witnesses told police that the suspects ran off in all different directions, including some who headed north toward the water, Nolan said. He said investigators are still trying to determine how many people were involved in the shooting, including how many others were with the wounded Chicago men.
Officers found a “significant quantity” of suspected heroin at the scene. Nolan said that during the commotion the suspected drugs fell out of a bag and were left behind at the scene.