It was a senseless, cowardly crime.

James Wallmuth III was shot in the back and killed Wednesday night outside a busy York City night spot, allegedly by a 15-year-old who confronted him on a park bench.

The boy wanted his cell phone, a witness said.

Unlike the teen now facing a first-degree murder charge -- an 18-year-old also been arrested -- Wallmuth had a bright future ahead of him.

The 28-year-old graduated from West York Area High School in 2000 -- where he was class president -- then from Penn State in 2004. He later worked in the York County District Attorney's Office for about four years, assisting prosecutors as a case manager.

Wallmuth knew then, his father said, that he wanted to be an attorney -- he liked the intellectual challenge, but he also wanted to help people.

He was about to begin his second year at University of Pittsburgh's law school.

The randomness of Wallmuth's slaying was shocking.

"This person was an innocent victim who was minding his own business and was targeted by a predator, unfortunately," said city Police Chief Wes Kahley. "... It's unacceptable, and we're going to keep working to make sure it doesn't occur again."

At a press conference Friday morning, Mayor Kim Bracey said York remains "a good city, a safe city," but acknowledged that citizens are tired of violent crime and promised police will keep fighting back to make York City safer.

"We are not going to tolerate this type of behavior in the City of York," she said. "But we need (residents') help.


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In this case, police made their first arrest within about 24 hours of the shooting. But too often, Bracey said, people refuse to cooperate with investigators or won't come forward when they have information.

This also boggles the mind.

To stand idly by, or look the other way, while bullets are flying where we live and where our children play is inexcusable.

Police are trying to keep our streets safe, but we can't expect them to do it alone.

People need to say "enough," and they can start tonight.

That's when York County joins in the 27th annual National Night Out, an event organizers hope raises awareness about crime prevention and strengthens partnerships between police and communities across the country.

We urge you to join in one of the many events scheduled around the county, or simply sit on you front porch with the outside light on.

With that simple gesture, officers will see you're behind them -- and criminals will know you're not going to take it anymore.