We're learning more about the man who murdered a truck driver and shot another person at an Upper Macungie Township Wawa after shooting at a driver on Route 22 Wednesday morning. The Lehigh County DA's office says Za Uk Lian, of South Whitehall Township, legally purchased the gun used to carry out the crimes. DA Jim Martin says Lian bought the gun on January 30th and was approved for a concealed carry permit on March 22nd. Lian's only previous encounters with the law were three traffic citations in 2019 and a pair of tickets in Washington state, where he lived before moving here. Meanwhile, Martin says it doesn't appear Lian followed the woman he shot at on Route 22 to the Wawa, but rather coincidentally arrived there after her.
Pennsylvania's Department of Health confirmed 4192 new cases of coronavirus in the commonwealth Thursday. That pushes the pandemic's total here to 1,122,662. 52 new deaths attributed to COVID-19 were also added. That overall number in Pennsylvania now stands at 25,879.
Two more Pennsylvania universities are requiring vaccinations for students during the fall semester. Both the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University have announced similar plans to require all students to be vaccinated for the fall semester. There are religious and medical exceptions available.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says "masks aren't forever", adding the state will lok to bring the coronavirus vaccine directly to more people. Murphy tells MSNBC that vaccine vans along the Jersey Shore could be a realistic option, as the state is now focusing on getting younger people to take the vaccine. "I think you'll see a lot of mobiles, a lot of vans that will go into hard-to-reach communities. Maybe knocking on doors as was suggested," Murphy says. With more than 2.5-million people fully vaccinated, New Jersey is now over halfway towards its goal of getting all adults vaccinated by the end of June.
While next month's primary election day isn't until May 18th, voters in Lehigh County can begin casting their ballots May 3rd. Drop boxes for mail ballots will be available for Lehigh County residents at five municipal buildings beginning that day. They'll be found at the North Whitehall and Upper Macungie township buildings, the Fountain Hill and Emmaus borough offices and the Lehigh County Government Center in Allentown. All locations will have drop boxes inside the building and will be available for use during normal municipal business hours.
PEMA is supporting the governor's powers when it comes to disaster responses. This comes as lawmakers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are trying to limit executive powers. Officials say sometimes decisions are extremely timely and need to be made with data on hand. They added that the legislative process is designed to be debated, to be talked about and that doesn't lend itself well to a lot of what they do in public safety and emergency management.
Lancaster County DA Heather Adams says while the coroner hasn't officially identified the remains found in eastern Lancaster County Wednesday, she's comfortable doing so. "Based on all of the information currently known and available to us, we strongly believe and are comfortable saying that the remains are those of 18-year-old Linda Stoltzfoos," Adams says. Stoltzfoos' remains were found Wednesday, exactly ten months after she was last seen leaving church. The remains were found near the employer of Justo Smoker, who was charged with her disappearance last summer and her death in December. Adams declined to say what led searchers to that location.
A jackpot-winning Pennsylvania Lottery Match 6 Lotto ticket worth $1.12 million from Wednesday night's drawing was sold in Lehigh County. Top Star Express on Hamilton Boulevard in Breinigsville earns $10,000 for selling the winning ticket.
Four ballot questions will appear on the May 18th primary ballot, including three constitutional amendments. Pennsylvania election officials remind all registered voters they can vote on those question whether they have a party affiliation or not. Two of the proposed amendments deal with disaster emergency declarations and the third involves a prohibition against denial of equality of rights based on race or ethnicity. The fourth question asks if municipal fire departments or companies with paid personnel and EMS companies eligible for an existing state loan program.
A Pennsylvania State Police trooper has been suspended without pay for allegedly trying to fix a ticket for a friend. An internal investigation determined that Trooper Trask Alexander sent a request to officials to withdraw a traffic citation issued by another trooper, saying that the ticket had been issued to the wrong person. When the issuing trooper was contacted about the request, they said they knew nothing about it and the situation then came to light. Alexander has been with the state police since 2014.