Alleged Shooter in Custody after Standoff, Victim Hit in the Face by Shotgun Blast

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HAZLETON -- After a man was shot Tuesday morning in Hazleton, police tracked down the suspect by following footprints in the snow.

Those footprints led them straight to the home of to the alleged shooter and then a standoff.

Hazleton police accuse George Salata of Hazleton of shooting another man in the face with a shotgun.

The victim is in critical condition.

Authorities believe the shooting happened after the two men argued over a woman.

Salata faces felony charges of aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person.

As he walked into a magistrate's office to be arraigned, he wore only a hospital robe and socks.

Authorities took his clothes for evidence after Salata allegedly shot a man in the face with a shotgun.

"One of our municipal employees who writes parking ban tickets heard the gunshot, officers responded," said Hazleton Police Sgt. David Rodick.

The shooting happened around 3 a.m. Tuesday at the corner of North Locust and 20th Streets in Hazleton.

Authorities followed footprints from the site of the shooting straight to Salata's doorstep.

Salata's neighbors woke up to see a SWAT team outside of the home. The SWAT team and other emergency responders were brought in as Salata stood inside his third-floor apartment with his shotgun ignoring authorities for three hours.

"I never expected to get up in the morning to go to work, and find, like I said, police all over," said Dave Cressman.

Salata surrendered just after 6 a.m. Police believe the shooting and standoff were the result of a confrontation between Salata and the victim Michael Gontz who police say believed Salata was obsessed with his girlfriend.

Gontz is listed in critical but stable condition. Authorities say he may never be able to hear again and will need several surgeries for the injuries he sustained to his face.

George Salata is locked up in the Luzerne County jail.


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