- Edilberto Pelaez, who was shot while having dinner with his family on Thanksgiving, dies.
- The shooting was related to a dispute over an alleged theft of alcohol at another nearby Thanksgiving dinner.
- The victim was airlifted to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Edilberto Miguel Pelaez Moctezuma, 25, was having Thanksgiving dinner with his family inside a residence in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, when the tragedy cut the celebration short. According to relatives, the young Hispanic man was sitting at the table when he was shot in the torso by a bullet that went through the window.
According to the investigation by Norristown police, the shooting was related to an alcohol dispute that occurred at another nearby Thanksgiving dinner earlier in the day where four men and one woman were involved.
Hispanic shot by a stray bullet on Thanksgiving dies
According to authorities, the incident began with the theft of alcohol at a family party. Kevon Clarke, 19, and his girlfriend, Jacqueline Brown, were asked to leave the celebration. Later, Brown’s cousin accused them of stealing alcohol while leaving the house via a text message.
Later, Clarke agreed to meet his girlfriend’s cousin outside their home. But when he arrived, a shooting ensued that ended up killing Pelaez, who received a stray bullet. The Norristown police responded to the call at 9:28 p.m. and found Pelaez unconscious with a torso wound.
Authorities announced a joint investigation into homicide
Although the victim was airlifted to the hospital, he was pronounced dead at the health center. Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and Norristown Acting Police Chief Todd Dillon announced a joint homicide investigation.
An autopsy was performed on November 26, 2021, by forensic pathologist Dr. Hannah Kastenbaum with the Philadelphia Coroner’s Office. The cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the torso, and the manner of death was a homicide.
An innocent bystander murdered
“Mr. Palaez Moctezuma was killed while at a Thanksgiving dinner inside his home, and to be clear, he and his family were not involved in the dispute between Clarke and others,” said the prosecutor Steele. “This is the second innocent bystander to be killed this year in a senseless dispute that escalated into gun violence by someone who is not even legally capable of owning a gun.”
“We hold people involved in this type of violence accountable here in Montgomery County. We will find this shooter and the others involved in this murder and seek justice for the murder of an innocent man, who was not safe even in the confines of his own home,” Steele added.
Clarke faces arrest warrant and murder charges
Clarke faces an arrest warrant and charges for murder in the first degree, murder in the third degree, unlawful possession of a firearm, carrying a firearm without a license, recklessly endangering another person, and possessing an instrument of crime.
Authorities described the suspect as 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing approximately 150 pounds. They warned that he should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who has information on his whereabouts should call 911 immediately.