HAZLETON — We learned today that when a man was shot in the face Monday night in Hazleton, some police officers were not that far away from the scene.
The victim had surgery Tuesday afternoon and the suspect – his girlfriend – is charged with assault.
Police in Hazleton say they just happened to be on regular patrols near James Street when shots rang out. The officers heard the gunfire that began with an argument between a boyfriend and girlfriend.
Investigators say Mary Kirkpatrick, 28, was arguing with Joseph Rogoskey when a patrolman happened to be driving by the house on a patrol route. He heard gunshots.
“It’s no doubt it’s a gunshot and then he immediately sees within a minute, two individuals running out of the house. The reason why it appeared, why one individual was trying to hide his face, was in fact because he was shot in the face,” said Hazleton Police Chief Frank DeAndrea.
The officer pulled the two men over just a few blocks down the road, where Kirkpatrick’s brother Michael said that Rogoskey was shot and medical help was called.
Kirkpatrick didn’t say why she fired the gun as she was taken to a district judge’s office in Luzerne County but, according to court papers, she told officers it was all an accident and that she meant to scare Rogoskey by firing the gun after the two had been fighting for some time.
Neighbors who live nearby on James Street say they don’t know who was living inside but they did hear a lot of fighting and arguing right before what sounded like a gunshot.
Other neighbors just a few houses down from where the alleged shooting happened say they didn’t hear about the incident until the next morning and were rather upset.
“No, I didn’t hear nothing you know, we didn’t hear nothing. We found out this morning somebody had been shot in the face,” said Jose Navarro.
“We have kids around here that if that bullet didn’t go through him, it would go through somebody else,” said Blanca Navarro.
Kirkpatrick was arraigned and faces several charges including aggravated assault. She also faces a theft charge from last month, and harassment charges from 2012.
She’s locked up in Luzerne County.
Her boyfriend was in surgery earlier in the day as doctors worked to dislodge a bullet that was still in his neck. His condition was not released.