YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — A year and a half ago, 20-year-old Justin Griffith was killed after a shooting at Cousler Park in Manchester Township. On Thursday, police in York County said they have caught his suspected killer.

On Jan. 5, 2023, the 18-month anniversary of Griffith’s death, Northern York County Regional Police said they had arrested Elijah Penn. It took 18 months, including a four-month grand jury investigation.

“I just felt like, for the first time in 18 months, I could let out a breath,” Chawna Griffith, Justin’s mother, said, adding this is closure for the community as well. “I lost my son, but a whole community lost their peace.”

Penn is accused of the 2021 homicide of Griffith and of shooting a 21-year-old man who survived his injuries, according to police.

According to the grand jury, on July 5, 2021, Griffith and friends were playing basketball at Cousler Park when a group of people, some of them masked, arrived and got into an argument with some of the players.

That’s when police allege Penn pulled out a gun and fired several rounds, one of which hit Griffith in the back. Multiple witnesses told investigators they saw an extended magazine on Penn’s pistol, which is designed to hold more rounds of ammunition.

In their investigation, the grand jury heard testimony from several witnesses. They also examined cell phone records which investigators say placed Penn at the park at the time of the shooting.

“Another dangerous person will be made to answer for his violent crime,” York County District Attorney Dave Sunday said.

On the evening of July 5, 2021, Northern York County Regional Police responded to Cousler Park on Church Road for a reported shooting, they said. Police said they found a man in the parking lot who had been shot in the torso.

The man, Griffith, was transported to the hospital, where he died from his injury, according to police. A second victim arrived at the hospital in a personal vehicle with a non-life-threatening wound to his leg, police said.

Nearly two dozen people were in the area at the time of the shooting, according to police.

York County District Attorney Dave Sunday said the shooting was connected to gang violence, but he said Griffith was not a target in the shooting — a change from what law enforcement had initially said after the investigation..

“To publicly have DA Sunday let everyone know that my son wasn’t a target means everything to me because I think when a young man — especially a young man of color — is killed in this manner, we tend to automatically start asking questions, ‘What was he into?'” Chawna Griffith said.

Justin’s mom said she is grateful to law enforcement for keeping her up to date and supporting her throughout the investigation.

“Never did I feel like this police department fell asleep on Justin or forgot about us,” she said.

Chawna also said while she mourns her son, Justin’s memory, captured in a locket and a necklace with his name, has kept her going.

“His memory’s close to my heart, what he held dear is close to my heart and his name is forever etched in my heart, my heart beats Justin every single day,” she said.

Penn has been charged with homicide, criminal attempt homicide, aggravated assault, and recklessly endangering another person, according to Northern York County Regional Police.

“Regardless of how long it takes, we are going to keep doing it, and we will not give up, and we will push, and we will have perseverance, and we will utilize every tool available as prosecutors and as police to solve these murders,” Sunday said.