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Fight breaks out at memorial service for Pa. shooting victim

September 19, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • A fight broke out Wednesday after a memorial service for Calvin Warren James Beam at The Salvation Army thrift store on Franklin Street in Chambersburg.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Friends and family remembered Calvin Warren James Beam as a loving person with a great laugh at a memorial service in his honor at the same location where the 18-year-old was gunned down less than 48 hours earlier.

But an hour into the gathering a fight broke out, bringing the service at The Salvation Army Thrift Store parking lot on Franklin Street in Chambersburg to an abrupt halt.

Mobs of people began to fight in and out of traffic on Franklin Street and Lincoln Way West.

Chambersburg police were the first to arrive to restore order, followed by a half-dozen Pennsylvania State Police troopers.

Police responded to the call of 200 people fighting, Chambersburg Police Sgt. John Clawson  said.

Some of the people involved in the prayer vigil saw someone they thought was involved in Beam’s shooting, Clawson said.

He said the people involved in the fight were trying to detain a male.

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“It was reported that he (the male) was assaulted, but he left before we could talk to him,” Clawson said. “There are no charges, at this point, until we can talk to him to find out who assaulted him.”

Clawson did not release the male’s full name.

“This isn’t supposed to happen,” said a teenage girl who was crying as she watched the fight unfold. “This is about Calvin, not about fighting.”

When the police arrived, many of those involved in the fight scrambled in all directions. 

Those remaining were interviewed by police officers.

Beam’s friend, Donovon Lee, 21, of Chambersburg, didn’t want Wednesday’s fight to detract from his friend’s memory.

“I think this memorial service went very well. A lot of people showed up to show their respects,” Lee said. “I’m hoping the ones that were involved come to justice. I really do hope that everyone remembers Calvin the way he was. He was a really good guy. He always made you laugh no matter what was going on.”

Beam died early Tuesday following a shooting in the area of Franklin Street and Martin Avenue in Chambersburg, according to police.

Police responded to a call of shots fired around 10:30 p.m. Monday.

Beam was shot at least twice, police said.

The shooting incident started on the first block of N. Franklin St., police said.  Beam was found in the parking lot behind the Franklin Fire Company at 158 W. King St. 

Caileen Stevens, 17, of Chambersburg, knew Beam for about five years. 

“I’m feeling hurt,” Stevens said. “We are very angry. There was no reason at all for the person to pull a gun on him.”

“We don’t want him to just be a name or a face,” Lee said. “We want people to remember him how he was — a very good guy. He had a lot of respect for people. When somebody was down he was there to cheer them up. He didn’t deserve this.”

Beam’s girlfriend of eight months, Sophia Low, clutched a purple teddy bear all through the service.

“He won this for me at Hershey Park,” Low said.

“He was a good person. He had the prettiest blue eyes and a big smile,” she said fighting back sobs.

Low said she was trying to focus on the good memories about Beam.

“He cared about everybody,” she said.

While it was difficult for her to be at the scene of his shooting, she said it was important for her to be there.

“I wanted to be here with everybody to say goodbye,” she said. 

Wearing a shirt, “My Beloved Son Calvin,”  Warren Beam sobbed.

“It was his charm and his smile,” Beam said about his son. “He had a sense of humor and a comeback for everything. You would literally roll on the floor.” 

Beam said his son wanted to follow him in the asphalt business.

“He loved hunting, fishing, camping, playing XBox and spending time with his sister,” Beam said.

Chambersburg Police Chief David Arnold said “we’re making progress” on the investigation into the shooting.

An autopsy was completed on Wednesday, but the results were not released.

Arnold said he will release more information about the case today.

There is no motive at this time, he said.

No weapon has been recovered, according to police.

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