Coopersdale Homes fatal shooting scene

Coopersdale Homes was the scene of a fatal shooting in the early morning of Sunday, May 17, 2020. Photo taken in the Coopersdale section of Johnstown on Sunday, May 17, 2020.

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Police have filed charges against the man who they say shot and killed a West End resident at a party in the city’s Coopersdale neighborhood last year.

Johnstown police detectives charged Amir Matthews, 20, of Philadelphia, with criminal homicide in the shooting death of Armel Joe at a late-night barbecue attended by at least 74 people on May 17, 2020, at the Coopersdale Homes complex.

“We believe that he’s the one who killed Armel Joe,” police Detective Cory Adams said at the time.

The Philadelphia man was returned to Johnstown, where he was arraigned Tuesday by District Judge Michael Musulin, of Johnstown. He is being held in Cambria County Prison in Ebensburg without bond.

According to a criminal complaint, one confidential informant said Matthews admitted he had shot and killed Joe, while another confidential informant said he witnessed Matthews “shoot and kill Armel Joe.”

The shooting happened in a parking lot near Building 20. Joe, 26, was shot once in the abdomen. He was taken by ambulance to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, where he died 30 minutes later in the emergency room, Cambria County Coroner Jeffrey Lees said.

About 20 minutes before the shooting, Matthews was inside one of the apartments when he became outraged and was looking for his gun, according to the complaint.

Later, people fled when shots ring out in the parking lot, and Matthews ran back to the apartment while others gathered around Joe as he laid on the ground, police allege.

Matthews is charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5061. Follow him on Twitter @PatBuchnowskiTD.

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