Timeline, police response in Harrisburg homicide probed

Emotions ran high Thursday during a volatile investigation at the Harrisburg Apartments near South 15th Street. Several neighbors and family members were upset to learn 25 year-old Robert Diggs Jr. was shot.

However, some neighbors told abc27 they knew something bad happened the night before. Several said police were called and still the dead body was left inside the apartment until Thursday morning.

On behalf of the concerned neighbors, we dug deeper into the timeline.

On Thursday night, Harrisburg police sent a press release with preliminary information on a “shooting investigation.” Police reported Diggs' time of death appeared to be around 12:50 a.m.

Police did not include information regarding an initial call in this press release. Minutes later, police were asked to provide this information. A spokesman said police were “actively investigating the incident and not ready to release specifics.”

On Friday morning, Dauphin County Coroner Graham Hetrick held a news conference to discuss the autopsy performed on Diggs.

Hetrick confirmed Diggs died as a result of a single gunshot wound to the head, and ruled the death a homicide.

“The type of angle, wound would be consistent with homicide,” he said.

Hetrick placed the time of death for Diggs on Wednesday, May 8 at 12:52 a.m.

Subsequently, Harrisburg police and Mayor Linda Thompson held a news conference Friday afternoon to discuss the investigation into the city's eight homicide of 2013.

Police Chief Pierre Ritter said police did receive a call around the same time of Diggs' declared time of death.

“After midnight on the 8th, we got a call for shots fired,” said Ritter.

On Friday, abc27 obtained the Dauphin County dispatch log chronology from Wednesday, May 8 to Thursday, May 9.

According to the log, a call for “shots fired” came in at 12:52 am. On the comment line, a dispatcher wrote a woman “heard a gunshot, people ran out of apt.”

According to the log, police arrived at 1405 South 15th Street at 12:56 am. Police said officers knocked on the third-floor apartment, but nobody answered.

According to the log, police cleared the scene at 1:13 a.m.

Ritter said not enough evidence was found. Mayor Thompson added in the response.

“Our cops then began to survey the land, look on the ground … look up and down … the walls, go outside, saw no blood droppings, saw no bullet holes, saw no evidence of a gunshot,” she said.

The police news release reported that a witness came forward Wednesday night and told authorities she saw a man shot at a party.

When asked what time police discovered Diggs' body inside the apartment, Chief Ritter said around 4 a.m.

The dispatch log indicated police were called back to the apartment at 5:33 a.m. Thursday.

Police said they did not receive a single phone call during the day Wednesday.

Hetrick said the Dauphin County Coroner's Office received the call at 9:22 a.m. to come to the Harrisburg Park apartments.

According the police dispatch log, a final police call came in at 10:39 a.m. Thursday morning.

abc27 arrived on scene and saw the coroner carry Diggs body out of the apartment building just before noon Thursday.

Police said there was no immediate danger, but asked the public to remain vigilant while police search for the gunman. Thompson said she doesn't take the city's eight murder lightly.

“This is the time in the mayor's life where my heart is solemn,” she said. “Once again, a senseless murder.”

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