Bloom police nab one, looking for another in home-invasion beating

Last updated: March 30, 2017 - 4:30pm


Carnell Wilder-McGirt (Courtesy Columbia County Prison)

BLOOMSBURG — Police say two men – one a Bloomsburg University basketball player – broke into an apartment on East Anthony Avenue in Bloomsburg early Wednesday, beat a woman and ransacked an apartment before fleeing.

As police chased down the car speeding from the house, one man jumped out and ran away.

But police arrested the other suspect – Carnell J. Wilder-McGirt, 21, of Philadelphia – and found two ski masks in the Bloomsburg University student’s car, they say.

Wilder-McGirt, who goes by Carnell McGirt on university records, is a junior in communications studies and a starter for the men’s basketball team, according to team roster.

He is being held in Columbia County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail . He’s charged with burglary, aggravated assault and felony trespassing, among other counts.

Police say it was 2:10 a.m. Wednesday when BU student Kali Hunter hear a knock at the door of her apartment at 457 E. Anthony Ave, police say.

When she answered it, two men wearing black hoodies – one in a white ski mask and one in a black mask – forced their way into the apartment. She said they attacked her with an orange-tipped fake gun and a long, hard blue object.

Then, the men hit her with a lamp and chair about the head, face and back.

Her roommate and fellow student Nathan Copenhaver was home and heard things breaking and Hunter screaming, charges say.
Copenhaver locked himself in an upstairs bedroom, he told police. But he soon heard someone enter a bedroom next to his.

Then, that masked man kicked down his door as well, he said.

When the man saw Copenhaver, he froze and threw a gas-powered BB gun at him, charges say. Copenhaver said he dodged the gun, and it struck the wall behind him. The men then fled the apartment, he told police.

Car caught
A neighbor had called police after hearing screams from next door and told officers that a car was fleeing the alley at a high rate of speed.

Bloomsburg Patrolman David Bowman caught up to the vehicle in the 400 block of East Second Street, near the Bloomsburg University campus, charges say. As the car stopped, one man jumped out, and despite Bowman’s orders to get back in the car, he fled onto campus.

Police found Wilder-McGirt still in the car.

As police were talking with him, they noticed he was reaching into a pocket on back of the passenger-side seat. Police say they found he was trying to hide a black ski mask in the rear pocket of the passenger-side seat by shoving it down and covering it with a towel. They also found a white ski mask in the car.

Wilder-McGirt told police that he had been on Anthony Avenue to pick up a friend. He said he didn’t know anything about the break-in.

But police spotted that his sneakers were covered in mud. They had also seen dried mud scattered around the apartment, they say.

He was arraigned by video from Columbia County Prison before on-duty District Judge Doug Brewer and is to appear in district court at 10 a.m. on April 5.

Wilder-McGirt started 20 of 27 games for BU men’s basketball team this season, playing both forward and guard, according to team statistics. He was the team’s second-leading scorer.

Treated at hospital
Hunter, a junior in business administration, was left with redness and swelling to her face and forehead, scrapes on her right leg and knee and scrapes on her hand from the assault.

She was taken by ambulance to the emergency room of Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital and treated, police say.

Police say Hunter was unsure whether anything had been stolen out of her apartment, but said the men came in making demands after kicking in the door. Officers did not say what they were demanding.

Police are looking for the second suspect. Police released the following description: a young black man, roughly 5 feet, 6 inches to 5 feet, 7 inches in height. He was wearing a black hoodie early Wednesday morning. They ask anyone with information to call them at 570-784-4155 or through county communications at 570-784-6300.

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