A Reading, Pennsylvania, man pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and other charges after threatening to use a blow torch on officers and driving a vehicle at them.
According to a press release from Lancaster County district attorney Heath Adams’ office, Zachary R. Gilbaugh, 39, pleaded guilty to the charges on Thursday, which Lancaster County Judge Thomas Sponaugle accepted.
The judge sentenced Gilbaugh to 8-20 years in prison.
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“I regret what I did,” Gilbaugh said. “I was doing drugs. I apologize.”
Gilbaugh had several warrants out for his arrest at the time of the incident, on Feb. 1, 2022.
He was wanted for intimidating a witness, stalking, criminal trespass and vehicle theft in East Earl Township, burglary in Reading, resisting arrest in Chester County, and probation violations of indecent exposure in Berks County.
On the morning of Feb. 1, 2022, the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force executed a warrant for Gilbaugh at a home on Union Grove Road in East Earl Township.
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The fugitive was found in a crawlspace in the basement, and he failed to comply with task for commands. Instead, Gilbaugh threatened law enforcement with a small blowtorch and cinder blocks, the DA’s press release said.
Officers tried to use a ballistic sponge round and tasers to get Gilbaugh to comply to their orders, but they were not effective. Eventually, the officers left the building and evacuated it of all residents.
A short time later, Gilbaugh walked out the front door with a circular saw blade and the blow torch before getting into a minivan facing the street, dropping the saw blade on the ground.
Five officers approached the van and ordered Gilbaugh to exit, but he ignored the orders and accelerated forward with two officers in front of him.
Neither officer was struck, the release noted, and officers began firing shots at Gilbaugh, who was hit multiple times.
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The minivan crashed into a guardrail across the street from the residence and officers removed Gilbaugh from the vehicle and performed first aid.