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Charges Withdrawn, Felonies Remain Against 2011 Lansdale Drive-By Suspects

John Sambath, 19, of S. 15th Street, Philadelphia, allegedly shot a man in Wedgewood in Lansdale in September 2011. Christian Vietri, 21, of S. 11th Street, Philadelphia, was his alleged accomplice

Two Philadelphia men charged in connection with a September 2011 drive-by shooting in the Wedgewood development in Lansdale had charges withdrawn and others upheld at their preliminary hearings Thursday morning.

Police said John Sambath, 19, of the 1600 block of S. 15th St., and Christian Vietri, 21, of the 1200 block of S. 11th St., were involved in the shooting on the 900 block of Wedgewood Drive on Sept. 4, 2011.

The shooting left one man injured, resulting in a felony criminal attempted homicide charged lodged against Sambath.

Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Strubel withdrew the felony burglary charge and the felony criminal trespass charge against Sambath. Strubel also withdrew two counts of misdemeanor simple assault and two counts of misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

That leaves Sambath with 18 criminal offenses: felony attempted criminal homicide, two counts of felony aggravated assault, felony carrying a firearm without a license, felony discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure, four misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment, misdemeanor criminal mischief, six misdemeanor counts of simple assault, misdemeanor possessing an instrument of crime, and misdemeanor terroristic threats. 

Bail for Sambath was reduced from $500,000 cash to $250,000 cash at the hearing. Sambath was represented by attorney Thomas Carluccio.

Strubel said the appropriate charges against Sambath were stipulated to the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.

"It prevented any witnesses to testify," she said.

Vietri, represented by attorney Kenneth Young, had one felony charge of aggravated assault withdrawn by the Commonwealth.

Vietri now faces 16 criminal offenses that were waived to county court: felony carrying a firearm without a license, two counts of misdemeanor simple assault, six counts of misdemeanor recklessly endangering another person, misdemeanor terroristic threats, misdemeanor posssessing an instrument of crime, misdemeanor DUI, misdemeanor disorderly conduct - engaging in fighting, carrying a false identification, failure to stop at a stop sign, and purchasing alcoholic beverages for a minor, according to court records.

Vietri's bail was set at $75,000, and he remains free on bail.

Both suspects have formal arraignments at county court on Feb. 13.

On Sept. 4, 2011, at midnight, police officers were dispatched to a report of a shooting in Wedgewood.

Patrol officers arrived on location and found an 18-year-old man with a gunshot wound to his upper torso, police said. The victim was transported to Abington Health-Lansdale Hospital where he was treated for the gunshot wound.

Witnesses reported that a group of individuals, including Sambath and Vietri, arrived in the neighborhood and an argument ensued between the group and residents of a home on the 900 block of Wedgewood Drive, police said.

Sambath and Vietri allegedly pulled out handguns, police said; Vietri then allegedly fired two shots away from the group and yelled at residents.

Sambath got into his car to leave the scene, but stopped his car in front of the house and allegedly fired multiple shots from his gun toward the home, police said.

People were outside during the shooting, which is when the victim was hit by one of the shots fired by Sambath, police said.

After the shooting, Sambath and Vietri fled the scene separately, police said.

Vietri was stopped several blocks away, but denied involvement in the shooting, police said.

Sambath was not immediately found, but was later identified by investigators via video surveillance and photographs from a nearby convenience store, police said.

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