Easton, Pennsylvania

From the December 6, 2007 Easton Daily Call:

Rob Pierce Jr.’s walk through Easton’s West Ward for dinner at his fiancee’s mother’s house Tuesday almost cost him his life.

He was mugged by two men, one a self-proclaimed Crips gang member, the other wearing a hooded jacket and carrying a handgun, police said.

”It was like hell,” Pierce, 27, of Easton said Wednesday night in a brief phone interview.
While being told to be quiet and cooperate, he was dragged across the street in the darkness and told he was going to be shot. But in an instant, the hunted became the hunter.

Pierce, who carries a handgun for protection, pulled out a .357 revolver and shot Maurice Cook of Easton, who had thrust a .45 handgun into Pierce’s back and the side of his head.

Cook, 22, who was shot in the abdomen, was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital-Fountain Hill, where he underwent surgery and was expected to survive, police said.

He and the other mugging suspect, Tyrone Wright, 22, of Newark, N.J., were charged Wednesday with robbery, aggravated assault and conspiracy. Wright told a district judge he was recently freed from a New Jersey prison, where he had been held on a drug charge.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said the good guy won in a botched armed robbery. But at a news conference Wednesday, he also cautioned against a return to the vigilante days of the Wild West.

He said Pierce violated no law by protecting himself and will face no charges. ”Luckily, this time, the citizen won. I think Mr. Pierce acted responsibly.”

Morganelli said he supports laws that allow people to carry concealed weapons and hopes this latest shooting in the West Ward, the second in less than a week, sends a message to ”these young thugs” that their victims might fight back.

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