Yesterday just before midnight, Hazleton Police responded to the area of Peace and 11th Street for a report of shots fired in the area.
No evidence was recovered from the scene. At approximately 12:40, Chief Speziale witnessed what appeared to be a drug transaction on Arthur Street and Diamond Avenue involving a silver Ford Edge with PA Registration with what appeared to be bullet holes in the right door and rear passenger window of the vehicle.
The vehicle was occupied by a driver later identified as 18 year old Erickson Antonio Diaz, front passenger a female Hispanic Juvenile 17 years of age and a rear passenger, later identified as 19 year old Angel Perez. The vehicle immediately spotted the officer's vehicle following them and traveled on Diamond Avenue to Hayes and then onto 1st Street when Speziale activated his emergency lights and siren.
The vehicle immediately began to flee and turned against traffic on Seybert Street and traveled ten blocks against traffic with the officer in pursuit through numerous blocks in that area with Hazleton Patrol Units, Officers T. King, J. Leonard, C. Kishel, E. Hernandez, S. Greene and J. Shaw attempting to stop the vehicle as it attempted to elude the officers in the area circling the streets, blocks and courts.
Officers King and Shaw attempted to set up a roadblock on Seybert Street early on in the pursuit with an escape route as required by law and the individual, Diaz drove at the officers and then around their vehicle with full emergency warning signals operating. The vehicle traveled down N. Lee Court at 12th Street when the rear passenger discarded a what appeared to be a weapon from the rear passenger window.
The Hazleton units were all in the area with the assistance of the PSP, Butler Township Police and West Hazleton Police as the vehicle stopped on N. Manhattan Court and 11th Street before the intersection blocking Speziale's vehicle and both males exited the vehicle and began fleeing on foot. The vehicle was left in gear and rolled in reverse into Speziale's vehicle with minimal damage. Speziale captured the Juvenile at the scene while the two males continued to flee. The vehicle had a fully loaded 30 round magazine in the vehicle and marijuana which was recovered at the scene.
Officer John Leonard was in the area and captured Perez (Passenger) on Laurel between 10th and 11th Street and Officer C. Kishel returned him to the scene. Officer's T. King, J. Shaw and E. Hernandez apprehended Diaz (Driver) in the area of 5 West 11th Street and returned him to the scene.
Officer's S. Greene, T. King and J. Shaw went to the area of N. Lee Court and 12th Street and Officer J. Shaw recovered a 9MM Glock Semi Automatic pistol with obliterated serial numbers.
The vehicle was towed and the subjects were transported to Hazleton headquarters. Detective Sergeant D. Rodick was called in to handle the charges on the above individuals.
Both Diaz and Perez are wanted on fugitive warrants, will be arraigned and transported to LCCF.
Diaz was charged with fleeing and eluding numerous traffic violations.
Perez was charged with several weapons offenses.
The investigation is continuing and additional charges are pending at this time.
Statement from Chief Jerry Speziale:
"This was truly a team effort and the department will continue with saturation patrols in making a safer City"
“The men and women of the Hazleton Police Department are an extraordinary group of talented individuals, truly dedicated to the welfare of the citizens. “
"The mission of the Hazleton City Police Department is to enhance the quality of life in our City by working in partnership with the community to enforce the law, preserve peace, reduce fear, and maintain order. The Hazleton Police Department is committed to accomplishing its mission of protecting the lives and property of all the citizens and visitors of Hazleton by treating everyone with compassion, courtesy, professionalism, and respect, while efficiently rendering public safety services and enforcing the laws impartially, by fighting crime both through deterrence and the relentless pursuit of criminals."