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Officers detail Slatington man shooting at police

Slatington Police sergeant David Alercia can recall seeing Adam Zaborowski drawing an AK-47 rifle and firing it into the windshield of his patrol car.

Testifying in Lehigh County Court on Thursday, Alercia said that on the morning of Aug. 1, in a residential street, Zaborowski fired upon him as Alercia sat behind the wheel of his patrol car. Alercia was part of a team of officers attempting to stop Zaborowski’s vehicle to arrest him for firing a weapon outside a Northampton County cigar store the previous day.

Zaborowski was in court Monday for a preliminary hearing on charges of aggravated assault of a police officer. The judge in the case ruled that the case can proceed to county court.

Zaborowski has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is being held on $1 million bail.

Alercia was grazed by a bullet which passed through the windshield of his vehicle. He also tore knee ligaments during the fracas and lost hearing when he returned fire from inside his vehicle.

Zaborowski surrendered to police after being shot twice.

Alercia testified that on the morning of Aug.1, he and six state troopers were waiting for Zaborowski to leave his residence so they could arrest him on a warrant.

At some point they were informed that Zaborowski was leaving in a blue pickup truck. Anticipating his route, the officers came in contact with his vehicle and pursued it.

Alercia said he saw the driver ignore stop signs so he turned on his lights and siren.

When the vehicle stopped, it was angled to the right in what Alercia called a “tactical position.”

He then saw Zaborowski come out of the truck with the AK-47 and start firing at him, using the truck as cover. From behind the wheel, he saw bullets strike the front of the car, the mirror, and the windshield.

Alercia returned fire through his windshield, with the car still in gear and his foot on the brake.

Trooper William Hoogerhyde, who was a passenger in a cruiser behind Alercia’s testified that he saw Zaborowski shooting, and got out of the car with his own AR-style rifle. He said he fired off rounds three at a time, taking breaks to re-sight. He said he saw rounds strike Zaborowski in the foot and hip area. Zaborowski then threw his guns and said he gave up.

Hoogerhyde said that a trooper who was with him used a tourniquet on Zaborowski, and took him into custody.

Alercia testified that he kicked the guns further away.

Hoogerhyde said that the incident was recorded on the dashboard camera in the cruiser he was in.

Following the hearing, Zaborowski’s attorney, John Waldron, said he is not denying that his client shot at police. He is trying to obtain a psychiatric evaluation to learn more about Zaborowski’s mindset during the shooting and the incident the day before at Cigars International.

Waldron said that Zaborowski had plans to go off the grid to escape coronavirus restrictions. He was unemployed and recently lost custody of his daughter.

“There’s no rhyme or reason to what he did at Cigars International or with law enforcement in Slatington. That’s why I need a forensic psychologist to do some testing, talk to him to see why he reacted the way he did,” Waldron said.

Adam Zaborowski