Retired cop says he is shaken by carnage in Chambersburg
For more than 30 years, old-timey Trenton cop Mickey Forker raced toward violence in the capital city in his “wagon.”
In the early-morning hours Tuesday, the violence came to him.
“Chambersburg used to be spotless,” said Forker, a retired Trenton Police officer who has lived in a sparsely furnished apartment on Division Street for 20 years. “Now you have a lot of shootings going on in Chambersburg.”
Firefighters were called Tuesday afternoon to a gruesome scene. They hosed down the blood-stained concrete outside of a home on 700 Division Street, hours after a gun battle claimed the life of 19-year-old Elvin Kimble. His killer or killers remain on the prowl.
The gunshots had faded, but Kimble’s family was still shell-shocked.
“I’ve been changing his diapers since he was 1 year old,” Tanya Smith, Kimble’s aunt, said at the scene.
Shards of glass were scattered on Rusling Street, feet from where a bullet grazed a resident’s black car. The man stood outside in the street with his friend, changing a flat tire that was also struck in the crossfire.
Witnesses said they heard as many as 20 shots, including a round that shook residences streets over. A woman said it sounded like a shotgun blast.
The cops had been called to this Chambersburg neighborhood hours earlier on a report of gunfire. Officers found nothing. Kimble wasn’t discovered until hours later, around 6 a.m.
Forker said he knows why – the boys in blue are overworked.
“You’re 150 cops short in the city right now,” he said. “I feel bad for them. They’re out here working 12 hours shift. They’re very shorthanded. They go from one job to the next.
“They’ll arrest a guy, they’ll process him, and they’re out on the street before the ink dries. It takes two years for them to go to trial. They’re out doing the same thing. That’s like, ‘I’m the garbage man, and I pick up the garbage and throw it in that garbage can.’ An hour later, they throw it back out again. That’s the best metaphor I have for the criminal justice system.”
People poured out of their homes and into the streets, shouting there were two bodies. It was hard to separate fact from fiction until a medical examiner’s van arrived and hauled off only Kimble’s body.
Staked out at the scene, Forker greeted his former compatriots as they arrived.
The city’s latest murder shattered two months of peace. For Forker, it was proof the city he once knew and proudly patrolled has seen better days.
“Mercer County – and I got to say this – is the dumping ground for all these people that the townships don’t want,” Forker said. “I’m gonna use the word dysfunction and undesirable to describe a certain group of people. You see guys with four, five felonies who are back on the street again.”