East Bethlehem man arrested for firing shots

May 16, 2013
Loran Yonkers

An East Bethlehem Township man was arrested after state police and officers from several departments responded to multiple reports of gunfire late Wednesday.

Loran Bruce Yonkers, 55, of 7 Apple Drive, Fredericktown, faces charges of reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and possession of drug paraphernalia.

State police received reports that a firearm had been fired several times and that the resident, later identified as Yonkers, was yelling and possibly making threats.

East Bethlehem police Chief Mark Pompe, who was one of the officers who responded, said he went door to door at homes in the area and told neighbors to turn off their lights and stay in their basements.

Police said they continued to watch Yonkers, who was outside his house, as he yelled and fired several rounds. Police could hear a woman inside the house asking Yonkers to stop.

Fifteen minutes later, police said Yonkers turned off the lights at his home and went inside. Police were then able to safely approach.

Pompe said police formed a “U” as they went up the hill to the house. Yonkers and the woman, identified as his wife, came out of the home.

Numerous weapons were found in the house, along with two suspected drug pipes, police said. Several spent and live rounds of ammunition were found in front of the house.

Pompe said Yonkers was angry that a home he owns on Lund Avenue had been burglarized.

State police said his wife told officers that they were having problems with their neighbors and had fired warning shots “to let them know not to come up here.”

Yonkers, who police said had been drinking, told officers that he was defending his property and that he may have gone a little too far.

Other police departments assisting were California, Beallsville, Charleroi Regional, Centerville, Southwest Regional, Brownsville, West Brownsville and California University of Pennsylvania.

Yonkers was arraigned before District Judge Jay Weller and released from the Washington County jail Thursday morning after posting $10,000 bond. He faces a preliminary hearing May 23 before District Judge Joshua Kanalis.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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