Police: Teenager killed as suspects attempted to rob him


While police say the original plan was to rob Devon Pfirsching of his marijuana, after the 15-year-old was shot in the head at close range and left to die in an Altoona alley, the three teenagers now accused of his murder ran off and left the bag of pot laying in a stairwell next to the 15-year-old’s body.

Charges filed against 16-year-old Logan Persing and 15-year-olds Owen Southerland and Damien Green reveal an alleged scheme to rob Pfirsching that Altoona police indicate went awry when Pfirsching fought back after he was lured to the alley on the 100 block of Fourth Avenue, between Overflow Church and Jefferson Park, just before midnight Tuesday.

According to police, Persing, Southerland and Green all confessed to their roles in the killing of Pfirsching, with Persing admitting to police he used Snapchat to arrange a meet-up with Pfirsching under the auspices of buying a bag of marijuana.

Pfirsching had been bowling Tuesday night before he was driven to his house by some older friends he was with so Pfirsching could get marijuana he was planning to sell.

After making a few stops, including one to sell some pot to a person named “Joe,” Pfirsching and three others — all between the ages of 18 and 20 — arrived in the area of Jefferson Park, according to police. Pfirsching had been communicating on his phone with someone named “Logan,” Pfirsching’s friends told police.

Pfirsching’s companions told police that he got out and walked down the alley while they waited in the vehicle. After several minutes, they heard a loud bang and what sounded like metal hitting metal, police noted. Then they saw a male running from the scene, so they started calling and texting Pfirsching, but he didn’t respond.

When his friends ran down the alley, they found him dead, police said.

When Persing, Southerland and Green confessed, they allegedly told investigators Persing set up Pfirsching and they didn’t intend to buy marijuana, but rather rob him of his pot and other belongings.

When Pfirsching arrived, Southerland walked up to him, pulled a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at Pfirsching’s head. Southerland, with his finger on the trigger, told Pfirsching to “Run” while calling him a derogatory name, police said. When Pfirsching didn’t run, Southerland started pistol-whipping the 15-year-old.

Police said when Pfirsching, who was hit twice on the head and face, tried to protect himself and grabbed at the gun, Southerland’s finger was on the trigger and it fired. Police said Pfirsching was shot in the left temple at close range, and he immediately fell to the ground.

The three teenagers then ran off in different directions, with Southerland allegedly telling police he threw the pistol as he ran. Southerland said the gun was a Glock and that it had an obliterated serial number. He claimed he bought it for three grams of marijuana and $110.

The gun has yet to be found despite what police said was an exhaustive search of the area, according to the charges.

A vigil for Pfirsching will be held at 5:30 p.m. today on Fourth Avenue Alley between Jefferson Park and Overflow Church, where he was killed.

Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.