Trial Begins for Man Accused of Shooting at Police in Walmart Parking Lot

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WILKES-BARRE -- The trial of a man accused of shooting at police officers in a Walmart parking lot in Wilkes-Barre Township began Tuesday.

Police officers testified they feared for their lives on that day two years ago because they didn't know what was going to happen from one moment to the next.

Scott Sargent walked into the Luzerne County Courthouse for the start of his attempted murder trial holding court papers with a picture of the pope on the front and reference to a new testament verse from the bible.

"Do you think he's going to help you through the trial?"

"Absolutely," Sargent replied. "Let your true self prevail."

Two years ago to the day, prosecutors say Sargent began shooting at officers in the Wilkes-Barre Township Walmart parking lot.

Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Jarrett Ferentino said, "That's where most people are on Saturday morning. That's where this defendant chose to raise hell. He chose that busy commerce section deliberately and intentionally."

But the defense argues Sargent was not in his right mind that day, saying he has a history of drug abuse and mental illness.

Sargent's attorney Joseph Yeager said, "Scott only fired in response to shots being fired at him. Shots were fired in the air. Officers didn't know if they were being fired at or if they were going overhead."

Prosecutors painted the picture that officers were terrified for their lives that day, saying they were fighting Sargent with handguns, while Sargent had a semi-automatic rifle. Its trigger needed to be pulled for every shot.

"They have to advance on the defendant who was firing at them because they weren't equipped to take him down from where they were while this was happening he was yelling, '____ you, pigs' at the officers," Ferentino said.

The case continues Wednesday morning with testimony from officers who were able to stop Sargent from shooting outside that Walmart.


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