Standoff and Gunfire Incident in Hazleton Ends

HAZLETON, Pa. -- When a man fired a shot at a Hazleton police officer Monday morning, it led to a standoff on the city's south side. It ended when police entered the home and found the man dead.

It started when police were warned about the man's disturbing post on social media. It ended when the man apparently took his own life.

Two Hazleton police officers checked on the man who lived on Elm Street because of a disturbing Facebook post where he talked about sexually assaulting girls he'd seen in videos, girls who were not even teenagers.

He was identified by investigators as Joseph Polin, age 46.

When the officers arrived at his door, police say he shot at and missed one of the officers and that led to a four-hour standoff.

"We heard a couple of gunshots and somebody saying, 'He's armed,''' Judy Rodriguez recalled.

Rodriguez's family lives a couple of doors down. They had to leave and were whisked away in an ambulance to safety at a fire station.

"He's usually like quiet, like for me, every time I see him he's usually quiet and we say hi and that's about it."

Police say the man was texting his landlord and talking with his girlfriend early on in the standoff but stopped communicating after about an hour.

An officer lobbed tear gas canisters through the windows of the home in an effort to bring the standoff to an end, but there was no communication.

"I wouldn't think he would be capable of doing something like this," Nancy Parsons said.

Parsons lives on the other side of the duplex as the man who barricaded himself inside.

She read his Facebook post where he writes:

"Apparently, I got sick and had heart issues. Later, I found my blood pressure was through the roof. Then on December 31, chest pains that lasted for more than a week. From that point on, off and on, chest pains. I was waiting on a heart attack, but God didn't seem that kind."

"Recently, I noticed his car would be home all the time. So, I guess he lost his job," Parson said.

Two hours after firing tear gas into the duplex, police went inside and found Polin dead in the basement.

"I'm going to assume -- and I don't like to assume -- that in all indications, it appears to be self-inflicted," said Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale.

Because a Hazleton officer fired a shot back at the man during the confrontation, the case is being investigated by the Luzerne County district attorney's office.

 

4 comments

  • skookamania

    Hazleton has more police activity then newark anymore. Being a cop in hazleton has to be terrible. move to the skook its blighted and beautiful with a lot of facebook, meth and high school sport addiction.

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