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LHS student killed at birthday party

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By Jenny Hartley

FORT LAWN – Fort Lawn police are still tracking down leads in the murder of a 15-year-old Lancaster boy at a birthday party late Saturday night.

Dekeem Reed was killed after gunfire broke out at a party at the Fort Lawn Community Center late Saturday, said Fort Lawn Police Chief Mike Revels.

Reed, a freshman at Lancaster High School, was pronounced dead at Springs Memorial Hospital in Lancaster shortly after 12 a.m. Sunday.

Revels said about 300 people were at the party, which was breaking up before the shooting shortly before midnight Saturday.

Several fights broke out, and at least two guns were fired, but police don’t know whether there was more than one shooter, Revels said. Investigators are still trying to determine why the shooting began.

It appears Reed was an innocent bystander. He was shot once in the chest.

“There is no indication that he was actively involved in any of the fighting,” Revels said.

The cafeteria area of the community center is often rented for parties and other events on the weekends.

“There have been large parties there before, but this is the first time it’s erupted in violence and gunfire,” Revels said.

Seven Chester County sheriff’s deputies, four Fort Lawn officers, about five state troopers, five Lancaster County Sheriff’s deputies and three State Law Enforcement Division agents responded to the community center. The case is being investigated by both Chester and Lancaster authorities, since many of the people at the party are from Lancaster County.

The shooter in the case seems to have “vanished” after the incident, Revels said.

There are possible suspects in the case, but police have been unable to make arrests due to uncooperative witnesses.

“That’s the problem,” Revels said. “Anyone with information, please call us.”

Reed’s mother, Alice Barnes Tillman, declined to be interviewed on Tuesday.

“I can’t talk about it,” she said.

Besides his mother, Reed is survived by his father, Ulysses Reed, five sisters, a brother and his paternal grandparents. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Crawford Funeral Home.

Those with information about the case may call the Fort Lawn Police Department at 872-4995.

Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at jhartley@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1151