A new type of violent crime is invading northeastern Pennsylvania. Dubbed “active shooter” cases by the FBI, an outburst of gun violence at an industrial park in Berwick, Pennsylvania became the second such case in reported in October.
The first such incident occurred on Oct. 17 in which a 31-year old man open fire in a Wal-Mart parking lot with an AR15 assault weapon. The incident ended when the man was shot and wounded by a Wilkes-Barre police officer. The latest such incident occurred when a 35-year-old man opened fire in an industrial park. The man was wounded in his legs and torso by shots fired by police officers. He was later charged with four counts of attempt to commit criminal homicide, seven counts of first-degree aggravated assault and eight counts of second-degree aggravated assault.
The FBI defines an “active shooter” incident as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” In a study covering the years 2000 to 2013, the FBI found that the annual average of active shooter incidents increased from an annual average of 6.4 in first seven years of the study to 16.4 in the last seven years. FBI researchers also discovered that 45% of shooter cases occur in areas of commerce such as shopping malls. Twenty-four percent of such incidents occurred in educational environments. Police are now being given special training in handling such incidents.
Being charge with a violent crime such as attempted murder or aggravated assault can be a daunting experience, but each defendant in such a case is entitled to be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone accused of these or similar crimes can benefit from consulting a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. A lawyer who is experienced in defending these cases can provide a helpful analysis of the facts and law that will determine the outcome of the case, an enumeration of possible defense strategies and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or an outright acquittal.
Source: Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, “Shooting at Berwick industrial park was NEPA’s second “active shooter” case in a month,” Joe Dolinsky, Bill O’Boyle and Thomas Moriarty, Nov. 10, 2015