Erie County breaks record for most homicides in one year, at 20 so far in 2018

Local News

We start tonight with the release of more information about an Erie murder that took place in a local Pizza Hut restaurant. 

Authorities are now calling the crime a domestic homicide.  They tell us they’ve dealt with numerous shootings in public places, but this one was in some ways different.  Investigators say the defendant fired his weapon during the daytime, in a place no one would’ve associated with violence.

The Erie County Coroner identifies the victim in an Erie shooting as 25-year-old Alicia Stalheim.  The coroner rules the cause of death homicides due to multiple gunshot wounds. 

The suspect, 48-year-old Luis Rodriguez, is believed by investigators to have had a relationship with the victim.

Stalheim was an employee at the restaurant and had reportedly just returned from making a delivery. 

 Police Chief Dan Spizarny tells us, “The suspect pulled up immediately beside her. As she got out of the car he ran into the store. He chased her inside. We believe that shots were fired by him at her and at another employee who was inside.” 

Coroner Lyell Cook says throughout the autopsy there was no question that the cause of death was homicide, making this the 20th in 2018.  He tells us, “Oh, it’s absolutely above anything in Erie County history… One is too many when it comes to homicides, but for whatever reason, this year we’ve broken the record.”

The second victim in this case, who police believe to be a bystander working alongside Stalheim, fled the restaurant and waved over a passing car. Chief Spizarny says that’s when several people contacted the 9-1-1 center.

“When you get multiple calls right away like that, it lets us know that it’s a real situation, that all available hands are gonna go up there and it puts the officers on extreme alert.” 

The chief says domestic calls can oftentimes be the most dangerous for law enforcement officers.

Rodriguez is being held in Erie County Prison without bond.

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