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Alleged AK-47 shooter refused to wear a mask in cigar store, police say

Adam Michael Zaborowski, 35, of Slatington, Pennsylvania, is shown in this mugshot photo released on Aug. 1, 2020.
Adam Michael Zaborowski, 35, of Slatington, Pennsylvania, is shown in this mugshot photo released on Aug. 1, 2020. Bethlehem Township Police Department/Facebook

A Pennsylvania man has been arrested for allegedly shooting at a cigar store employee and firing an AK-47 at police over the weekend, all after he was asked to wear a mask indoors.

Adam Michael Zaborowski, 35, of Slatington, Pa., was arrested on Aug. 1 following a shootout with authorities, according to the Bethlehem Township Police Department. He faces a slew of charges for the cigar store incident in Northampton county, and for the ensuing shootout in nearby Lehigh County.

Zaborowski was arrested one day after he allegedly flipped out over the coronavirus mask policy at a Cigars International shop on July 31, shortly before noon.

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Police say the suspect walked into the shop and became angry when staff asked him to put on a mask due to COVID-19.

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“The staff even told Zaborowski that if he was not comfortable wearing a face covering they would take his order curbside,” police said in a statement. “Zaborowski became irate, grabbed two cigars from a shelf and exited the store without paying.”

An employee at the shop followed him out and demanded he pay for the cigars, authorities said.

Security footage released by police shows the suspect pulled a handgun out of his vehicle and fired one shot in the air, then two shots at the store employee. The employee was not hit and did not suffer any injuries from the incident.

The suspect then climbed into his vehicle and drove away.

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Police put out a warning about Zaborowski and went to his house with an arrest warrant the following day. The suspect allegedly tried to get away in his truck, then fired at the officers with an AK-47 rifle, sparking a shootout that ended when the suspect was hit by gunfire.

Zaborowksi was hit in the buttocks and the leg during the shootout, his attorney John Waldron told the Lehigh Valley Morning Call newspaper.

“He’s lucky, considering what happened,” Waldron said. “The police, when they’re getting fired upon, they shoot to kill.”

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Police recovered an AK-47 and a semiautomatic handgun from the suspect’s vehicle, the Morning Call reports.

State and local police were involved in the arrest, Lehigh Valley Live reports.

Waldron says Zaborowski was treated in hospital after the incident.

Zaborowski is charged in Lehigh County with seven counts of attempted homicide and attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, as well as aggravated assault and gun possession by a felon. The charges stem from the shootout on Saturday.

He is also facing charges in Northampton County for attempted homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, reckless endangerment and two gun offences related to the cigar store encounter.

Zaborowski’s lawyer said his client does not usually behave this way but he has been under pressure after losing his job and custody of his child.

“This is definitely not an excuse of any kind,” Waldron told the Morning Call. “But he was depressed and whatnot. At this point, I want to employ a mental health expert and see what was going on when these events occurred.”

He added that his client was “just not handling the pandemic well.”

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With files from The Associated Press