Saturday, August 30, 2008

Teen robber shot by Wal-Mart shopper

EAST STROUDSBURG - "It's a night time shopper's nightmare. You buy groceries, go to your car, and someone tries to rob you at gunpoint.

Police say Joshua Eastman, 28, of East Stroudsburg was unloading groceries at his car shortly before 12:45 a.m. today when Reneau Jean Jacques, 17, of 77 Symphony Circle, East Stroudsburg, pointed a handgun at him and demanded that he hand over his money.

Eastman looked around for help or someone to yell to. The alleged robber continued to demand money. Eastman replied that he did not have any money - that he used a debit card to pay for his purchases.

Jacques became more threatening, pointing the gun and using a more menacing tone of voice.

Eastman then took out his wallet and pushed the door of his truck more open to put it between himself and the suspect. Jacques pointed his gun at Eastman's face.

Eastman dropped his wallet and started ducking down. Jacques fired a shot that went through the window of the door almost striking Eastman and causing flying glass from the car window to cut his face.

Eastman pulled out a handgun he was carrying and fell to the ground. He returned fire under the truck's door with his pistol while the teen continued to fire his weapon.

Eastman shot Jacques in the lower leg and foot. Then Eastman ran back toward the store as the teen fled towards Friendly's restaurant.

Jacques fled into a landscaped island of bushes and trees in the parking lot. Stroud Area Regional Police were on the scene almost immediately and found him hiding and trying to bury a handgun in the mulch. He originally claimed to be a victim before police determined he was likely the one who started the trouble.

"It appears to be an armed robbery that went badly for the suspect because he picked an armed customer," said Sgt. James Wielgus.

Jacques is charged as an adult with attempted murder, robbery, aggravated assault, crimes committed with guns and illegal possession of a gun, all felonies, and reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor. He hung his head and sighed after the judge told him he could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge, attempted murder.

Jacques was taken to Pocono Medical Center for treatment. Police detained two other youths for questioning. They were in a car, trying to flee the scene, according to witnesses and police."

Related Story: Wal-Mart shopper says, 'It's not safe in East Stroudsburg any more.'

Pictured: Captured robber, and photo of officer pointing to which bush he and his men would hide behind while awaiting SWAT team backup.

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