An Exeter Township man was arrested over the weekend after police responded to his residence for the second time in the same day for domestic incidents.
In addition to a simple assault count, Jesus A. Lizardi Jr., 26, was charged with a felony count of carrying a firearm without a permit following the incident late Saturday in Exeter Village.
Investigators said they encountered Lizardi when they responded to the second domestic as he was leaving the property where he resides in the 900 block of Fernleigh Place. While searching him for weapons they found a frame-built handgun, a so-called “ghost gun"— a gun with no serial number, thus untraceable — in his jacket pocket, investigators said.
He remained free to await a hearing after arraignment before Senior District Judge Gloria Stitzel in Reading Central Court.
According to police:
Officers were first called early in the day when his fiancee had been drinking all morning and an argument ensued when she returned to their residence following an errand. The woman hit Lizardi several times, prompting him to shove her up the stairs and injure her leg. Police responded and calmed the respective parties, but after they left, the fighting resumed.
The woman told police that she hit Lizardi and he retaliated by punching her on the mouth and forehead, causing bruising and swelling.
She said Lizardi called police himself and then left her residence. She followed him, and that's when police arrived.
Lizardi told an officer that he attempted to leave the house due to the domestic altercation. He took off his jacket and showed marks on his wrist and shoulder.
Due to the visible injuries on his fiancee’s face, Lizardi was handcuffed and patted down for weapons. Officers found a 9mm frame-built handgun in his jacket pocket.
Lizardi told the officer he didn’t have a permit to carry a gun.
Lizardi wasn’t charged with any firearm violation other than carrying without a license, since ghost-gun kits can be legally purchased from manufacturers or their dealers.
Ghost guns are built from so-called 80-percent frame kits that are often sold at gun shows. No criminal or mental health history check is required for the kits because they are considered gun parts, not actual firearms.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro is trying to close the ghost gun loophole at the state level while urging federal legislation.
President Joe Biden’s administration issued an executive order in April calling for the Department of Justice to develop a proposed rule regulating ghost gun kit sales.
Sgt. Sean Fullerton, Exeter police spokesman, said he believes Saturday's incident was the first time Exeter police have come across a ghost gun when searching a suspect.
A gun is just as dangerous without a serial number as with one, but the lack of traceability poses problems in investigations, he said.