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Arrest made in Chambersburg shooting death

Man claiming to be a member of the Bloods street gang has been charged in the Sept. 17 death of 18-year-old Calvin Warren James Beam

September 27, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Steffawn Spriggs
Chambersburg Police Department

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — A man claiming to be a member of the Bloods street gang has been charged in the Sept. 17 death of 18-year-old Calvin Warren James Beam, who was shot three times in the area of Franklin Street and Martin Avenue.

Steffawn Spriggs, 23, of no fixed address, was charged Thursday with first-degree murder, recklessly endangering another person, discharging a firearm into an occupied structure and persons not to possess, use, control or transfer a firearm. 

Spriggs has been in custody since Sept. 19, when he was picked up by the U.S. Marshals Service and Pennsylvania state parole agents inside an apartment in Hall Manor in Harrisburg, police said. He was wanted for leaving a halfway house in Harrisburg in July, police said. 

He is being held at the state prison in Camp Hill on the parole violation, according to police. He will be returned to Franklin County for arraignment on homicide charges in Beam’s death, police said.

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“At this moment, we’re not going to release a motive,” Chambersburg Police Chief David Arnold said Thursday during a news conference at Chambersburg Borough Hall.

The police report said several people saw Spriggs with a handgun 24 to 48 hours before the shooting, and he talked about shooting someone before the incident. Police said Spriggs made statements to several people about being a member of the Bloods street gang.

Police do not believe the victim was a member of a gang, Arnold said.

“How well the suspect knew the victim and vice versa — again we’re not prepared to go into that at this time,” Arnold said. “Those facts will come out as the case moves forward.”

Arnold said he told Beam’s family that an arrest was made before making the announcement public.

“Of course, that doesn’t bring their son back, but it gives them some kind of, I hope, a little bit of solace ...” Arnold said.

Arnold said police waited to file charges until they felt they had a solid case.

“We may have been able to file charges earlier, but the fact of the matter is, working with the district attorney’s office, you don’t want to file your charges until you have the best case that you can bring. We wanted to make sure we had as many facts as we could,” he said.

According to the police report, Chambersburg Police responded to reports of a shooting at about 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 17. 

Police found Beam on the ground in the rear parking lot of Franklin Fire Co. at 158 W. King St. in Chambersburg, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Beam told police and people at the scene that the person who shot him was a black male with a long beard, wearing a white, long-sleeve shirt and a black-and-red Cincinnati Reds baseball cap. 

Police said the shooting took place in The Salvation Army parking lot and Beam ran to the fire company parking lot. A residence at 35 N. Franklin St. was struck by a bullet during the incident. No one in the home was injured, police said. 

During the investigation, police said a witness stated he was with Beam when Spriggs approached them to the rear of Texas Lunch at 108 Lincoln Way West. Police said the man said he saw Spriggs with a handgun, possibly a .22 caliber. The man told police that Spriggs pointed the gun at him and Beam and told them to walk toward Franklin Street.

The man asked Spriggs numerous times what was going on, police state in the report. Once Beam and the man were in the parking lot of The Salvation Army, Spriggs told the man to leave, police stated. 

The man left Spriggs and Beam in the parking lot and went back to his vehicle at Texas Lunch, police said. 

Police said the man drove to the area of The Salvation Army hoping Beam would get in his vehicle, but there was traffic and he had to drive past the area. The witness drove around the block, parked his vehicle and walked to the area, police said. 

As he walked toward the area, he was told there was a shooting, and he identified Spriggs as the person who approached him and Beam with a gun, police said.

When Spriggs was taken into custody, officers found two .22-caliber long rounds in his pocket as well as a black-and-red Cincinnati Reds baseball hat, police said.

Beam was taken to Chambersburg Hospital, then to Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center, where he died the next morning, police said.

Spriggs has a criminal record that includes a 2008 no-contest plea to a charge of robbery with threat to inflict bodily injury and a criminal conspiracy to commit robbery conviction in 2009, according to Franklin County Court of Common Pleas records.

— Don Aines

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