The man who shot at Pottsville and State police officers last Friday now awaits a preliminary hearing.
Jose E. Cruz, of Allentown, appeared before District Magistrate Anthony J. Kilker on Monday evening. Kilker set Cruz’ bail at $500,000 and scheduled a preliminary hearing for March 25 at 11 a.m. The defendant was unable to post bail and sent back to Schuylkill County prison awaiting his preliminary hearing.
Cruz faces a raft of charges related to the incident that happened in the early morning hours of March 8 on Mahantongo Street in Pottsville.
He’s up on the following felony charges:
- 5 counts of aggravated assault (F1)
- 5 counts of aggravated assault (F2)
- 5 counts of assault of a law enforcement officer (F1)
- 1 count of prohibited possession of a firearm (F2)
- 1 count of carrying a firearm without a license (F3)
- 1 count of criminal attempt of first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer
Cruz faces multiple misdemeanor charges in connection with the incident, too.
Shootout on Mahantongo Street
Around 1 a.m. in the 500 block of Mahantongo Street of Pottsville, Pottsville police and Pennsylvania State Police responded to a report of “shots fired”. When they arrived, they found Cruz and ordered him to drop his weapon repeatedly.
Cruz ignored these orders and dashed into the yard of Pottsville Area Soup Kitchen at 504 Mahantongo Street. Police attempted to stun Cruz. He turned to police and pointed a gun at them. That’s when two Pottsville police officers — whose names have not been released — fired on Cruz.
He survived the shooting and missed the officers with whatever shots he is alleged to have fired.
Immediately following Cruz’ arrest, Schuylkill County District Attorney Mike O’Pake reviewed three body cams worn by officers. He ruled officers were justified in shooting Cruz.
Cruz was tossed in the county lockup until Monday evening’s court appearance.
Cruz Did Time in 2011
If he’s convicted on the crimes he’s facing in Schuylkill County, it will not be Cruz’ first time in prison.
In February 2011, Cruz was sentenced to 2-1/2 to 7 years in state prison for an incident that happened in 2010 in Lehigh County. He was originally charged with burglary, criminal trespass, and stalking. He only did time for criminal trespass and agreed to a plea deal in the case.
Court records show he was released from state prison in August 2013.
You can view the record on this case here.