PSP: Drug deal leads to mans death in Carbondale shooting


CARBONDALE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Police reveal new information about a Carbondale shooting that occurred Monday night that they say left one man dead after a drug deal went wrong.

According to Pennsylvania State Poice (PSP), around 11:30 p.m. police were called for gunshots heard from a parking lot of Fallbrook Apartments in Carbondale.

Once arriving on the scene police say they found a Pernell Simmons, 35, on the ground with no signs of life and bleeding from his torso. Investigators found a 9mm luger casing on the ground near Simmon’s body.

As stated in the affidavit, surveillance video was given to police by neighbors that showed Simmons walking out of an apartment building when a silver Scion TC Coupe, driven by a man, later identified as Taaj Blan, 21, approached him.

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The video showed Simmons walking to the driver’s side and getting shot causing him to fall to the ground, allowing Blan to collect items that fell near Simmions and drive away, according to court papers.

Investigators say they got in contact with a witness to the incident who told them Simmons, himself, and two others were supposed to meet a man for a drug deal.

The witness informed police while Simmons was speaking on the phone with the man, he heard the conversation turn hostile regarding the location of the meet-up, as stated by investigators.

Police say Simmons was dropped off at the apartment complex when the witness saw the Scion drive up to Simmons, an argument happen with the driver, and multiple gunshots were heard.

On Tuesday the vehicle in question was seen driving and pulled over for a traffic stop. Authorities state the driver, Margaret Del Castillo, Blan’s mother, was brought in for questioning after a bag was found inside the car containing the clothing Blan was wearing the night of the shooting.

Castillo told police she was going to the laundry mat to washing clothes and was unaware the clothing in the bag was the ones Blan was wearing the night of the shooting.

Blan is being charged with criminal homicide and aggravated assault. While Castillo is being charged with tampering with evidence and obstruction.

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