Investigation Continues After Troopers Shoot Man in Susquehanna County

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HALLSTEAD, Pa. -- The investigation continues in Susquehanna County after state police shot a man five times during an altercation Tuesday night.

The man who was shot had allegedly been beating an older man in his home in Hallstead.

According to court papers, James Lewis, 38, called 911 after he beat Stephen Esposito, 66, to the point where he was bleeding from his eyes and nose. While still on the phone with emergency dispatchers, Lewis threatened to kill Esposito.

When state police showed up, troopers said Lewis threatened to harm police and refused to put down his gun.

Neighbor Zachary Benedict saw it all from across the street.

“I could hear the cops yelling at him, 'Put down the gun! Put down the gun!' And then I ducked. I didn't want to stay around and see what happened after that,” Benedict said.

State police shot Lewis five times. Both he and Esposito were taken to the hospital. Neighbors said they’re shocked Lewis took it that far.

“It's just scary that he wouldn't even put the guns down for them, that he wasn't even afraid of the police! He was apparently on a mission,” Kandi Kook said.

According to court papers, emergency dispatchers heard Lewis say to Esposito, “If someone needs to kill you, I’m your man.”

Neighbors said Esposito was a former mayor of Hallstead, but he wasn’t particularly neighborly.

“He was not a very nice person,” Cindy Conway said.

Court papers show Lewis had charges of assault and terroristic threats in the last couple of years. Neighbors said they aren't completely shocked that Esposito was hanging out with someone like him.

“Not really - seemed like they were two peas in a pod,” Conway said.

Regardless, people said this is a quiet neighborhood. They’re hoping things turn back to normal soon.

“It's sad. Small town of only 1,000 people. It's sad to see something like this. You don't expect it,” Benedict said.

Lewis has been charged with aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person. He is still recovering in the hospital.


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