Berks County detectives are continuing to investigate the officer-involved shooting in Robeson Township, in which a police officer shot a resident who officials say pointed a rifle at the officer.
Chief Detective Michael J. Gombar said the attempted-murder charge against the suspect, who was shot in the chest by the officer, speaks for itself regarding the officer’s need to use deadly force.
Still, investigators were continuing to analyze evidence gathered from the scene for various reasons, including fortifying the case for prosecution.
The defendant, Stephen D. Shank, 53, is "extremely lucky" to have survived after being shot in the chest during a close confrontation with the officer Tuesday night, Dec. 17, outside Shank’s residence in the first block of Lloyd Lane, off Buck Hollow Road, Gombar said.
The round or rounds went “through and through” and Shank was released from Reading Hospital on Wednesday, Dec. 18.
He is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail in Berks County Prison awaiting a hearing on charges including attempted murder of a police officer, aggravated assault and making terroristic threats.
The name of the officer was withheld in the criminal complaint and has not been disclosed by authorities.
Gombar didn’t know if the officer was placed on administrative leave by his department. Robeson police officials were unavailable Thursday, Dec. 19.
The criminal complaint provided additional details about the series of events that unfolded Tuesday, Dec. 17, beginning about 8:45 p.m.
According to the affidavit:
Police were dispatched after a 9-1-1 call by a neighbor who reported that Shank was loud and threatening.
The officer arrived at 8:47 p.m. and met with the complainant. While talking to him inside his residence, the officer heard a gunshot outside.
He went outside to investigate and as he rounded the building the officer heard a man saying he would kill the officer if he came outside. The office shone his flashlight on the man, who was Shank, and noticed he was leveling a rifle at him.
The office immediately fired his duty pistol at Shank while seeking cover. He heard Shank say he was shot.
The officer radioed that shots were fired and requested backup. He lost sight of Shank in the meantime.
As other officers arrived and tried to contact Shank, they learned he had retreated to his second-floor apartment.
Police requested assistance from Berks County Emergency Response Team, consisting of officers specially trained in standoffs with barricaded or armed persons.
Neighbors were ordered to stay in their homes. Some reported hearing negotiations via loudspeaker.
Shank was eventually taken into custody inside the bedroom of his apartment. A time frame wasn’t provided.
Gombar said investigators held the crime scene through Wednesday, gathering additional evidence.