LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — Two men and one woman were shot early Wednesday morning at a hotel in Luzerne County. One of the men is dead.
The victim has been identified as Rendell Joseph, 29, of Wilkes-Barre. The Luzerne County coroner said Joseph died from a gunshot wound, and the death is classified as a homicide.
The injured victims had multiple gunshot wounds. The woman is listed in critical condition.
Police say there was a "gathering" at the Holiday Inn on Wildflower Drive off of Route 315 in Plains Township.
A number of people were involved, hanging out on the seventh floor when that get-together went south around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.
It’s unclear how many other guests were staying on the seventh floor when this happened.
Investigators add that other people who may have been at that gathering may have also been wounded by the gunfire, but they took off.
Cops stress the public is not in any danger. All of these people knew each other. This was not a random act of violence.
Officers also tell us it appears whenever this gunfire rang out, it may have extended outside that initial room where everyone was together. At last check, no other hotel guests were injured.
The Holiday Inn in Plains Township is still open now; guests are still there.
Despite all of the commotion on the seventh floor, those staying one floor down didn't know anything went on until they woke up for work.
"I was on the sixth floor. I didn't hear anything. When I came down this morning, police had the place blocked off. I didn't know what happened until I watched you on the news," said Stephen Piotrowski, a hotel guest from Bucks county.
"I'm on the second (floor)," said Christina Drizon, a guest from Pittsburgh. "I did not (hear anything). I went to sleep about 11 o'clock, and it happened shortly thereafter. "
Michael Martin and Rita Lodato were staying below the suite where the incident took place and heard what happened.
"I say at like 12:35 a.m. we heard about 10 loud gunshots, followed by arguing screaming, banging things were breaking," said Martin. "You can tell like people were fighting. I went to the balcony door. I heard somebody yell out the name of a shot in their leg, more scuffling, followed by more gunshots."
"It sounded like somebody was like, going from balcony to balcony, and there's like a bunch of blood on the balcony like somebody jumped over the wall or something," Lodato said.
"To get from one room to the other room, to get away from the situation that was going on, they like escaped and climbed over a wall to the adjoining room next door," Martin said.
Firefighters brought in a ladder truck to help police look for evidence on the outside of the seventh floor, which is a sign that some of this gunfire could have played out on the balcony of that room where everyone was gathered.
Because investigators believe people took off from that get-together when shots were fired, they’re hoping anyone with more information gives Plains Township police a call at 570-829-3432.
The gunshot victims were taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, just a short drive away. It’s unclear of their condition.