SLATINGTON, Pa. (AP) — The attorney for a man accused of firing shots outside an eastern Pennsylvania cigar store following a dispute over wearing a mask and later exchanging gunfire with police says his client had lost his job and a custody battle and was “just not handling the pandemic well.”
Adam Zaborowski, 35, faces attempted homicide charges in both Friday’s incident outside Cigars International in Northampton County’s Bethlehem Township and Saturday’s confrontation with police near his Slatington home in Lehigh County.
LehighValleyLive.com reports that defense attorney John Waldron on Sunday cited a conversation with his client’s father for insight into the motivation for both shootings. Waldron said he’s out of the area and hasn’t been able to speak with his client, who is hospitalized with gunshot wounds to his leg and buttocks.
Waldron said he learned that Zaborowski lost his job due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recently lost custody of his child, things that don’t justify his behavior but give some insight into his motives.
“He just wasn’t dealing well with the loss of his job, the loss of his child, just not handling the pandemic well,” Waldron said. “I think he was getting stretched too tight.” Saying he had represented Zaborowski in the past, he added from what he knew of the allegations, “this is not his typical behavior pattern.”
County District Attorney Jim Martin earlier said police were trying to serve a warrant on Zaborowski on Saturday morning in Slatington, but he fled in a pickup truck and later opened fire on officers. Martin said officers returned fire, and Zaborowski was hit along with a Slatington officer, whose injury was relatively minor. Martin said Sunday that at least seven officers were put in harm’s way by the defendant’s AK-47 and handgun.
Earlier, Bethlehem Township police said Zaborowski entered the cigar store shortly before 11:30 a.m. Friday, without a mask, and when he was told he needed one he “became irate, grabbed two cigars from a shelf and exited the store without paying.” A staff member followed him outside, and police allege that Zaborowski fired into the air and then fired twice at the staff member. A patron was sitting behind the staff member, but no one was injured.
In the Lehigh County shootout with police, Zaborowski is charged with seven counts of attempted homicide and attempted first-degree murder of a police officer as well as aggravated assault and gun possession by a felon. In the Northampton County cigar store shooting, Zaborowski is charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, recklesss endangerment and two gun offenses.
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