Police said yesterday's shooting at a home on Gay Street in Tamaqua was a terrible accident. An 18 year old was shot in the chest by his friend and died two hours later.
The shooting was called in just after three pm and by five o'clock the young man had lost his life. Police paperwork said Eric Tavener was playing with a handgun on the third floor of a Gay Street half-double. Francis Witmayer took the gun away from Tavener, and when he went to unload the gun, it fired into Tavener's chest. Witmayer is being charged with involuntary manslaughter.
The house at 104 gay street is believed to be lived in by a group of younger people including Eric Tavener. Less than 24 hours later, a young couple and their two children packed their things and moved out. The father said what happened is senseless.
Francis Witmayer is being charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment for Tavener's death. One neighbor saw police rush to the home and the victim laying on the front porch.
"They flipped the man around and the ambulance came down the street and they pretty hurriedly got him in the car" said neighbor Andrew Kan.
Kane saw a gruesome scene right from his chair in his living room. A sight he did not expect to see and won't soon forget.
"So sad." He said, "And being so close to it, it hurt. Because you were there, you know what I mean?"
Another neighbor tells us a young girl was shouting "I can't lose him!" with others who lived in the house standing outside in disbelief. Kane said police closed down the whole block until about eight o'clock last night
"And then with all the excitement it was really a melee." Kane said.
Witmayer is in custody at the Schuylkill County Prison unable to post his bail.