LANCASTER, PA — The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office announced it approved charges of criminal homicide and robbery, a first-degree felony, against James Pilgrim Jr., 29 of Columbia, regarding the shooting in the 200 block of North Second Street in Columbia on November 30, 2022.
Pilgrim Jr. is also charged with first-degree felony aggravated assault, first-degree felony persons not to possess a firearm, and third-degree felony carrying a firearm without a license in connection with the shooting.
Furthermore, on December 12, 2022, a Pennsylvania State Trooper assigned to the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force was conducting surveillance at Pilgrim Jr.’s home and observed him exit the front door to retrieve items on the porch. The suspect then left the home, was pulled over on State Route 30 East and taken into custody.
The Trooper observed an unknown quantity of drugs in the vehicle Pilgrim Jr. was riding in; a search warrant was executed and approximately 60 grams of crack cocaine was seized from a shoe in the vehicle where Pilgrim Jr. was sitting.
A concealed and loaded Smith and Wesson 9mm firearm was also seized from Pilgrim’s belongings. This firearm was found to be stolen from East Lampeter Township in a vehicle break-in in 2018.
As a result of this vehicle stop and search warrant, Pilgrim Jr. was additionally charged with person not to possess firearms, a first-degree felony; possession with intent to deliver cocaine, an ungraded felony; carrying a firearm without a license, a third-degree felony; and receiving stolen property, a second-degree felony. This vehicle stop occurred in East Hempfield Township.
On November 30, 2022, at approximately 10:47 a.m., Columbia Borough Police Officers were dispatched to the 200 block of North Second Street for reports of a shooting. Officers found two male victims with gunshot wounds and worked to treat the victims, secure the scene, and summon EMS and investigators.
The two victims were in and around a blue 2014 Dodge Challenger that was parked on North Second Street near Avenue F. One of the victims was lying in the street on the driver’s side of the car with a gunshot wound to his thigh. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment and has been released. The second victim, identified as Lamar Lewis, was found deceased in the driver’s seat of the vehicle with a bullet wound.
The Lancaster County Coroner’s Office determined Lewis’ manner of death to be homicide from a single gunshot wound entering his torso.
Video footage was obtained and reviewed from several private cameras positioned around the scene. The footage shows the Challenger traveling in the 200 block of Poplar Street and eventually parking in the 200 block of North Second Street.
Further video footage shows the suspect walking toward the Challenger and shortly after running away onto Avenue F.
The wounded victim contacted a motorist to call 911.
A search of the vehicle revealed counterfeit currency and a scale commonly used for weighing illegal narcotics. Both victims’ and the defendant’s phones were secured as evidence. A single spent .45 caliber projectile casing was found near the Challenger.
Investigators determined through cell phone forensic analysis that the defendant and deceased victim were in constant communication about the meeting.
Pilgrim Jr. admitted to shooting Lewis and the other victim during an illegal drug transaction in a subsequent interview with police.
Further information from a Pennsylvania State Probation and Parole Agent revealed the suspect in the video footage looked like Pilgrim Jr. through identifying features, specifically facial tattoos. Investigators had also learned Pilgrim had been living at a home in the 300 block of North Second Street in Columbia.
Pilgrim Jr. remains in Lancaster County Prison on unrelated charges. He is pending arraignment on the additional charges.
Columbia Borough Police Detective Matthew Leddy filed the criminal homicide and robbery charges. Lancaster County Detective Stanley Roache filed the charges from the East Hempfield vehicle stop. The homicide and robbery charges were filed before Magisterial District Judge Edward Tobin. The additional charges were filed before Magisterial District Judge Brian Chudzik.
Information, a criminal complaint, or an arrest is not a declaration of guilt. A suspect, arrestee, or defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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