New Castle, PA, police are searching for a man who they believe shot 42-year-old Lance Louis in the back as he tried to flee in his car, causing him to crash into a utility pole and his car to catch on fire at around 2:30 in the morning. The warrant issued was for the arrest of 20-year-old Leighton Weaver.
Weaver, already a convicted felon from past crimes, has been charged with criminal homicide, among other counts, for the shooting. He was reportedly standing outside Louis’ car and shot toward it as it sped away, causing it to cars about four seconds later. When it crashed into the metal utility pole, the car burst into flames. A female passenger in the car suffered compound fractures to her legs.
The other counts Weaver is facing are illegal possession of a firearm, carrying a gun without a license, and recklessly endangering another person. As he was a felon, he was not allowed to possess a firearm.
The police initially thought the crash was a traffic accident and investigated it as such, but as they interviewed witnesses, checked the security camera tapes, and investigated the injuries Louis suffered, realized that it was a homicide and scrambled to find the suspect.
The local police said that they spend the night looking for Weaver, who was also wanted on warrants in Youngstown. To search for him, they combed through houses in areas of the city they thought he might be hiding in.
New Castle police Chief Bobby Salem said, “Last night we made numerous attempts to find and arrest Weaver, and we executed search warrants, and we’re continuing to work hard to locate him.”
Louis’ obituary, published on New Castle News, said:
Lance M. Louis, 42, of Union Township passed away the morning of April 19, 2023.
Lance was born Dec. 30, 1980, in New Castle. He is survived by his parents, Floyd and Kathleen Crespo Louis, also of Union Township.
He was a graduate of Union High School, where he excelled in sports, playing baseball and basketball.
Lance went on to proudly serve his country as a member of the United States Navy.
He currently worked in construction.
Lance continued to be an avid sports fan, watching sports on TV. He also enjoyed traveling.
In addition to his parents, Lance is survived by his son, Lance M. Louis Jr. of New Castle; and his sister, Karen Waters of Gary, Indiana.
Lance was preceded in death by his brother, Tyrone Louis.
Weaver was arrested in September 2022 for bringing a BB gun with a laser sight to the Liberty Hotel in the Liberty Township of Ohio and making threats with it. WDBN, reporting on that incident, said:
When officers got there, a witness told them that he had been sitting on the patio when a man, later identified as 19-year-old Leighton Weaver, sat down beside him and started making statements about robbing him and pointed the gun toward the window of the hotel, facing staff, to show that the laser worked, according to the police report.
The witness said he made a comment about his phone dying so he could run away from Weaver. As he left the patio area, he saw Weaver follow him into the hotel, the report stated. The man went up to his room and called the hotel staff.
Officers found Weaver leaving the lobby bathroom and he was arrested. They said Weaver told them he was carrying his friend’s BB gun. Police seized a replica 1911 .45 caliber handgun with a red laser on the front.
Weaver told police that he asked the man on the patio for a cigarette and then admitted to making the threats, the report said.
Louis image credit: New Castle News obituary. Weaver image credit: Liberty Township Police
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