A 24-year-old man is charged with criminal homicide in the beating of a teenager at Elizabethtown Borough Park on Monday.
David Skalla was charged Friday after 16-year-old Blake Shearer died at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Court records say Shearer’s death was due to head injuries that resulted in a complete loss of brain function.
A vigil was held at the Borough Park Friday evening, where thousands of family, friends and complete strangers gathered to pay their respects.
Shearer’s father announced his son’s death in a statement on the “Prayers and Justice for Blake” Facebook page.
“First off, we want to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, love, and support,” Nate Adams wrote. “Unfortunately, this afternoon at 2:20 p.m. our baby boy, Blake John Shearer lost his life due to the injuries he sustained late Monday afternoon. Please continue to pray for all of us as we head down a new path of grieving and moving forward.”
Shearer was about to begin his junior year at Elizabethtown High School.
Witnesses told police the teen was playing music loudly and yelling obscenities along with the music near the basketball courts. When Skalla told him to stop and Shearer refused, witnesses said Skalla slapped a drink from Shearer’s hands and struck the teen three or four times on the top of his head, the criminal complaint states.
Shearer collapsed and the man fled the scene in a Jeep. Witnesses provided photos that helped police track the Jeep to a Manheim home, where Skalla’s girlfriend identified him as the person involved in the confrontation.
Skalla, of Elizabethtown, was not at the home but he later called investigators and agreed to an interview. He said he approached Shearer about the obscenities and the youth told him he could do whatever he wanted and then slapped him. Skalla said he became extremely angry at the response and struck the teen once on the head.
Skalla told police he did not see that Shearer was unconscious, but he said witnesses told him he killed the teen before he left the park.
Skalla was taken into custody for violating parole earlier this week. He was being held at the state prison in Camp Hill.