What began as a sarcastic remark in a photo at the gym sent via social media site Snapchat led to charges of attempted homicide against a Montoursville-area teenager, state police said.
Mandon Jacob Watts, 18, of 153 Confair Parkway, allegedly fired five shots with a .22 caliber handgun at six other teenagers who arrived in two separate vehicles at Resurrection Cemetery in Fairfield Township shortly after 6 p.m. on the 7 August, according to an affidavit. by Trooper Brian M. Siebert.
The complaint was released Thursday after Watts was arraigned on the charge and related offenses before District Judge Gary A. Whiteman, who denied bail.
The soldiers say on August 5, when a
minor, whom police identified as victim 1 (of six), posted a picture of himself at the gym on Snapchat. The next day, a Snapchat account username of “GHOST5K30S” commented on the photograph, saying the individual was “little,” declared the soldier.
This upset the individual, who sent a message back to the commentator, later identified as Watts.
The following day, Watts responded to the individual and they exchanged chat messages; Watts recommended meeting him at the Resurrection Cemetery, 4323 Lycoming Mall Drive to fight, the soldier said. The animosity continued to mount.
At 4:55 p.m. that day, three minors arrived in a vehicle at the cemetery and three other minors arrived in a second vehicle. The second vehicle remained at the entrance as the first vehicle drove up the driveway to the cemetery, the affidavit states.
At 4:57 p.m., Victims 1, 2, and 3 observed that they believed to be GHOST5K30S (Watts) in possession of a black handgun. Watts allegedly pointed the gun at the first vehicle. Fearing that Watts would discharge the gun at them, the teens left the scene and returned to the residence of the first miner, the affidavit states.
Between 4:57 p.m. and 6 p.m., Watts and the first miner exchanged Snapchat messages. In the chat, they discussed the gun pointed at the first vehicle. Watts told the youngster it was an airsoft gun; the youth believed him and decided to return to the graveyard and attempt to fight Watts a second time, the affidavit states.
Victims 1, 2, 3 and 4 traveled to the cemetery in the first vehicle while victims 5 and 6 traveled there in a second vehicle.
Upon arrival, they observed who they believed to be Watts on a small dark green and black off-road vehicle and wearing a black hoodie, black ski goggles, black pants and black shoes.
The ATV appeared to be a rack-and-pinion utility vehicle and not a sport version. Watts was further described as short with a round build and short with a thin build, the affidavit states. The victims also said that based on his voice on Snapchat, he sounded like he was between 15 and 18 years old, the affidavit states.
Watts reportedly motioned for the two vehicles to follow him into the cemetery. The vehicles moved into the graveyard, but the drivers lost sight of him on the ATV. The vehicles drove around the cemetery before deciding to park at the first intersection in the square, the affidavit states.
When Watts approached the vehicles, he allegedly pulled a black handgun from his belt and fired five .22 caliber rounds, the affidavit states. He shot all six victims.
A bullet directly hit the fender on the front passenger side of a vehicle. In addition, the front bumper of this vehicle appears to have been hit by a ricochet. Watts moved away from the vehicles to the east. However, as the vehicles left the cemetery and reached the entrance/exit, they saw Watts on his ATV approaching from behind. The two vehicles made a westbound turn onto Lycoming Mall Drive, as they feared Watts would discharge his firearm at them again. The victims saw the man traveling north through Lycoming Mall Drive onto Hales Lyon Road, the affidavit states.
On August 8, soldiers processed the scene and recovered five .22 caliber shell casings from the area of the first intersection of the cemetery, the affidavit states.
On August 9, at 10 a.m., Cpl. Tyler Morse was taking part in a survey around the cemetery and Hales Lyon Road. Morse spoke with a woman who said she was home at 6 p.m. on August 7. The woman said she heard no gunshots but saw a black ATV heading south on Hales Lyon Road in the afternoon.
About 30 minutes after first seeing the ATV, the same ATV was traveling north on Hales Lyon Road, the witness said.
The woman described the operator as young and thin. The operator was also seen wearing a hoodie. During the canvassing area, Cpl. Nicholas Loffredo observed vegetation recently knocked over by an ATV, the affidavit states.
On the east side of Hales Lyon Road, Loffredo followed mountain bike trails to a well-established mountain bike trail in a wooded area east of Hales Lyon Road.
Loffredo then rode the ATV trail, which looped through the woods and eventually brought him to the edge of the woods line and the back of 153 Confair Parkway, the affidavit states.
The back yard of the residence was fenced and there were what appeared to be ATV trails in the grass inside the fence.
Morse spoke to two residents, including Watts, asking specific questions about guns. The other resident said there were only shotguns and denied having handguns, according to the affidavit.
Watts retrieved his cell phone from his room and Morse demanded to see his Snapchat username. Watts quickly showed Morse his Snapchat username. Morse asked if he could photograph the Snapchat username but Watts refused to allow it.
Morse asked if there was anyone else at the residence on Sunday, and Watts said there was none.
On August 10, soldiers confirmed to National Range and Armory that Watts had recently visited and rented an AR-15 rifle, a 9mm handgun and a .22 caliber handgun.
That day, Seibert obtained a search warrant for Snapchat account records associated with GHOST5K30S, MANDON270, and accounts used by two of the minors.
On August 11, soldiers obtained and executed a search warrant at Watts’ residence where they seized a black ski mask from Watts’ dresser drawer and saw that Watts had all black Nike shoes and all black Carhartt gloves in the bedroom.
The soldiers also seized two identical ATVs that matched the description of what Watts was using at the time of the incident.
These ATVs were described as dark green in color, the same brand as before, and both with racks in the front and rear of the vehicle.
On August 17, Siebert received the results of the Snapchat search warrant with GHOST5K30S identified as MANDON and several photos of himself from other Snapchat account users, the affidavit states. The device was used to log in and out of both accounts with the same identification.
Watts was arraigned Thursday in front of Whiteman for attempted homicide; aggravated assault, with attempted grievous bodily harm with extreme indifference; common assault; reckless endangerment; fire missiles into occupied vehicles; criminal mischief, property damage; firearms that cannot be carried without a license and possess an instrumentality of crime; possession of a weapon; and criminal use of a cell phone.