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Second suspect in deadly 2019 shooting in Lancaster sentenced to 20 years in prison

Brian Paltan, 24, pleaded guilty in May to conspiring with Ryan Rivera to shoot and kill Tyreek Gardner in May 2019, prosecutors say.
Credit: Lancaster County District Attorney's Office
Brian Paltan

LANCASTER, Pa. — The second of two suspects in a deadly 2019 shooting that claimed the life of Tyreek Gardner in Lancaster will serve up to 20 years in prison, the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office announced this week.

Brian J. Paltan, 24, of the 600 block of Hershey Avenue, pleaded guilty in May to charges of third-degree murder, criminal conspiracy, and carrying a firearm without a license. He was sentenced to a prison term of 8 to 20 years for the murder and conspiracy charges by Lancaster County Judge Dennis Reinaker at a hearing on June 28, according to prosecutors.

Reinaker added a 1 to 5 year sentence on the firearms charge, which will run concurrently, prosecutors said.

Paltan is the second suspect to be sentenced in the case. Ryan Rivera, who fired the shots that killed Gardner, was convicted of third-degree murder in Nov. 2021 and sentenced to a prison term of 40 to 80 years in January, according to prosecutors.

First Deputy District Attorney Travis Anderson presented evidence at Rivera’s trial that Rivera and Paltan confronted Gardner on the 300 block of East Fulton Street after Rivera and Gardner had crossed paths earlier in the night. 

Paltan punched Gardner, who ran from them on Tobacco Avenue toward North Shippen Street. Rivera and Paltan each fired at the victim but did not strike him. Shell casings were recovered on Tobacco Avenue. 

Rivera and Paltan returned to the corner of East Fulton Street and North Plum Street and video footage showed Rivera pointing at Gardner as he ran by onto Chestnut Street. Shortly after, Rivera and Paltan got into a Volkswagen Passat, which was captured on video surveillance driving down Chestnut Street to catch up with the victim. 

Additional video captured the audio of the shots being fired. 

Paltan entered an open guilty plea on May 12, meaning there was no agreement with the Commonwealth on the term of sentence. 

The victim’s mother, Paltan’s sister, and Paltan himself all spoke during the proceeding, according to prosecutors.

The victim’s mother asked Judge Reinaker for the same sentence as Rivera. Paltan’s sister spoke about how her brother had gotten involved with the wrong crowd but was always a generous person willing to help anyone. Paltan apologized to the family and friends of Tyreek Gardner while saying he made the choice to the tell the truth. 

Paltan testified at Rivera’s trial and cooperated with the investigation. 

“I made myself a target by telling the truth,” Paltan said. 

Reinaker noted Paltan’s lack of a criminal record prior to these offenses and his cooperation with the investigation as factors in his decision but couldn’t forget that he was also involved in the murder. 

First Deputy DA Anderson prosecuted the case. Assistant District Attorney Elaine Preli assisted with the prosecution.

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