A 20-year-old Tamaqua man has been apprehended by Tamaqua police after an armed robbery at a Hazleton convenience store last Saturday, followed by an altercation with police and attempted escape.
Michael T. Brode, last known address 120 Hunter Street, faces a total of 13 counts following a series of events that prompted Tamaqua police to utilize Tasers on the suspect.
According to the affadavit of probable cause, Sgt. Rick Weaver and Officer Anthony Stanell were on duty near the M & T Bank lot in Tamaqua late Saturday and previously had been alerted by McAdoo police of a reported armed robbery. The robbery, at CeeBee's store on West Broad Sreet, Hazleton, took place about 6:20 p.m., with the suspect reported as a Michael Brode driving a black Jeep.
Weaver and Stanell, who are familiar with Brode, observed a black Jeep traveling east on West Broad Street in Tamaqua, and skidding to a stop over the railroad tracks near the M & T parking lot. According to court documents, police activated their emergency lights and pursued the Jeep, which rounded the corner at the Five Points intersection and stopped at the Sunoco gas station lot. A passenger in the Jeep jumped out and was screaming for help.
Police noticed that the driver, Brode, held something in his hand. Sgt. Weaver instructed Brode to get on the ground while Stanell approached the passenger, Justin Startzel, who had blood on his face, according to police. Brode disobeyed the command and continued to approach Weaver, throwing a vehicle console lid at the officer.
The object missed Weaver but stuck Stanell's patrol car. Brode assaulted the officer, then fled. Both officers fired Tasers at Brode, who continued to flee as officers gave chase. Sgt. Weaver continued in pursuit to West Broad Street and then stopped, according to court papers, as Brode made his way out of range.
However, Brode returned shortly after along with several other males. According to court papers, a Matt Ruch told police that 'we got the guy you were chasing.' Brode then reportedly said to Sgt. Weaver, "I have a needle in my hand."
The needle, a Taser probe, was removed by Officer Stanell. Brode was handcuffed and placed in a patrol car. Assisting at the scene was Officer Kramer of Rush Township police.
According to court records, Hazleton police indicated that Brode was identified by the store clerk at CeeBee's through a line-up, and Weaver also identified Brode through a photograph. Hazleton police were summoned to Tamaqua and interviewed Brode at the Tamaqua police station.
In addition, Startzel was interviewed by Tamaqua police, and reported that Brode had repeatedly kicked him in the face and punched him numerous times while he was in the vehicle. Startzel also reported that while he was in the vehicle, Brode drove toward a building on West Broad Street yelling "I'm going to kill both of us!" According to the affadavit, Startzel said he slammed the vehicle into park at the railroad tracks in order to stop Brode from driving recklessly.
Police said Startzel had a bloody face, lip and ear.
Brode was charged with simple assault, reckless endangerment, terroristic threats, harassment and reckless driving related to assault on Startzel, and aggravated assault, simple assault, resisting arrest, escape and disorderly conduct related to the assault on officers.
Brode was arraigned before District Justice Joseph Zola, Hazleton, and jailed in the Schuylkill County Prison, Pottsville, in lieu of a combined $100,000 bail. Zola set bail at $50,000 on the Luzerne County charges.