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Gunfire at Third, Grape streets strikes passenger of vehicle

Whitehall Township police responded Nov. 25 to a report of shots fired at a vehicle at Third and Grape streets.

According to a report from Police Chief Michael Marks, officers responded just before 6 p.m.

Early reports indicated the gunshots were the result of an incident that started on Route 22; however, later reports take the start to the area of Routes 100 and 78.

The driver of the vehicle that was hit by gunfire told police a vehicle passed him on the roadway and nearly caused a collision. He then turned on his high beams, and the other driver pumped the brakes of his vehicle.

Both vehicles exited Route 78 onto Route 22 at the Fullerton exit.

The driver of the vehicle that passed the other, Christopher Lee Bencosme, 18, of Allentown, fired shots at the other vehicle and struck a juvenile passenger, according to the report.

The juvenile was transported to an area hospital with what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries, Marks said.

The driver of the vehicle that was struck told police he was also armed and said he fired his weapon once, according to reports.

Following an investigation by the Whitehall Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division, Bencosme was charged with one count of aggravated assault, a felony 1; five counts of discharging a firearm into an occupied structure, a felony 3; and five counts of recklessly endangering another person, a misdemeanor 2.

The investigation is ongoing, Marks said.