Defense: Drug abuse, mental illness led to shooting

October 17, 2017

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — A defense attorney says a “perfect storm” of drug abuse and mental illness led his client to open fire with a semi-automatic rifle outside a northeastern Pennsylvania shopping center two years ago.

The (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens’ Voice reports that the defense argued Tuesday in opening statements that 33-year-old Scott Sargent opened fire in “self-defense” because he felt he was being attacked by people following him.

Defense attorney Joseph Yeager says his client “had issues” with drugs, alcohol and mental illness and “at times ... was delusional and paranoid.”

Luzerne County prosecutors say police exchanged fire with Sargent in the crowded Wilkes-Barre township parking lot near Walmart in October 2015, wounding him.

Assistant District Attorney Jarrett Ferentino said Sargent chose a “high traffic, high civilians, high terror” location and police were “outgunned.”


Information from: The Citizens’ Voice, http://www.citizensvoice.com

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