Tamaqua police have filed charges against three males involved in a Jan. 26 car theft which evolved into a shooting incident.

The trio of defendants are: Cory Whitley, 18, of 4 Rose St., Tamaqua; Joshua Gaugler, 20, of 300 Allen Dr., Northampton; and a 15-year-old Tamaqua male.

The incident started at 8:45 p.m. that day, when the three males were walking in the area of the Tamaqua Wine and Spirits Store in the Railroad Street mini mall. A 1997 silver Nissan Altima was idling in the parking lot. The car had been cleared of freshly fallen snow by Wine and Spirit Store manager James Medvetz, who was lending a helping hand to a fellow employee.

Medvetz was still in the lot clearing snow from his own vehicle when Whitley and Gaugler approached the Nissan. They got in then drove away, police said, traveling west through the lot to Railroad Street. Gaugler was driving at the time. He then turned into oncoming traffic on Railroad Street, headed north. The vehicle then turned east on Biddle Street, south on Pine Street, east on Mauch Chunk Street, then north on Schuylkill Avenue. At some point, Gaugler and Whitley switched seats. Minutes later the duo ditched the car near garages at the intersection of Schuylkill Avenue and Laurel Street. They began to walk towards Rolling Mill Avenue, where they were to meet the juvenile they had left behind.

While the car was being driven away, Medvetz gave chase on foot, calling 9-1-1 on his cell phone. After the Nissan turned onto Biddle Street he went back to the store, gave his phone to his co-worker, then jumped in his private vehicle to see if he could catch the car thieves.

Minutes later he spotted the three men in the area of Pine and West Union streets. He confronted them, asking what they had done with the car. He was then allegedly assaulted by the trio. Whitley allegedly struck him in the head and face area with brass knuckles. During the confrontation, Medvetz sustained a stab wound on his hand.

When Gaugler rushed him, Medvetz pulled out a handgun, which he was licensed to carry. He fired one shot striking Gaugler in the abdominal area. Medvetz fled back to his car, pursued by Whitley, who punched the hood of the car with the brass knuckles.

Medvetz was able to drive away, back to the Wine and Spirits Store, where he related what happened to police.

Tamaqua police began a search and found Gaugler, Whitley, the juvenile and two additional people on Rolling Mill Avenue, to the rear of the store. Gaugler was bleeding and was unable to stand without support. Ambulances were dispatched to the area and Gaugler was transported to St. Luke's Miners Medical Center, Coaldale. He was later transferred to St. Luke's Hospital, Fountain Hill.

Charges to be filed against Gaugler include felony auto theft by unlawful taking, consipracy to commit theft by unlawful taking, robbery, receiving stolen property, unathorized use of a motor vehicle, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, driving without a valid license, driving the wrong way on a one way street.

Whitley will be charged with felony auto theft by unlawful taking, consipracy to commit theft by unlawful taking, robbery, receiving stolen property, unathorized use of a motor vehicle, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, illegal use of a prohibited weapon, criminal mischief and driving with a suspenede/revoked license.

The juvenile also faces charges and was referred to juvenile authorities.