Auto-shop owner, 25, is accused of shooting soccer coach in West Chester
By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times
A 25-year-old Kennett Square resident was arraigned Sunday night on charges that include attempted-homicide after he allegedly pulled a gun, aimed, and fired during a dispute in downtown West Chester early Sunday morning.
The criminal complaint for Curtis Zebley says that West Chester Sgt. John O’Donnell was on patrol in the borough when he heard gunshots and rushed to Church and Markets Streets at 2:14 a.m. Witnesses identified Zebley, “the male with the cowboy hat,” as the person who shot Jason Hotchkin, 35, of Harrisburg, the complaint said.
Hotchkin, a youth soccer coach, was lying on the ground with a gunshot wound to his back, buttocks and arm; he was transported to Paoli Memorial Trauma Center in critical condition, the complaint said. Although Hotchkin was listed as fair/stable on Sunday night, he was again listed as critical Monday morning, a hospital spokeswoman said.
A second victim, Moffat Ongwena, who was treated at Chester County Hospital for a laceration above his eye, said he and Hotchkin were walking to their car when they stopped to talk to a girl, the complaint said. Ongwena said the conversation “was going fine” when a man who appeared to be holding something became confrontational and got between them, the complaint said.
Ongwena, also a youth soccer coach, said he was hit in the head, heard shots, and then saw his friend lying on the ground, the complaint said. Police recovered a black Ruger .380 semi-automatic handgun at the scene that Zebley said belonged to him, the complaint said. Zebley told police he pulled the gun from his pants pocket during the altercation and fired three shots, two of which he knew struck one of the men, the complaint said.
Zebley, a 2007 graduate of Unionville High School, was taken into custody at the scene, police said. Magisterial District Judge Theodore P. Michaels set bail at $500,000 cash, which Zebley was unable to post, court records said.
Hotchkin, a college soccer standout who pursued the sport professionally, retired from the Harrisburg City Islanders in April 2012 after leading the team in goals scored during the 2010 season, published reports said. He now works for the Capital Area Soccer Association and was in the area for a soccer event, police said.
According to his Facebook page, Zebley, who attended Delaware County Community College after graduating from Unionville, owns Curt’s Automotive Repair LLC in Toughkenamon. Court records show that he has been arrested more than half a dozen times since 2009 for offenses ranging from failing to observe a stop sign and speeding to driving under the influence of alcohol.