LANCASTER, PA — A Columbia man was sentenced on Thursday, December 29, 2022, to 6 to 20 years by Lancaster County Judge Jeffery Wright after entering an open guilty plea, announced Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams.
Shawn Stryker, 51 of the 500 block of Goldfinch Road, was charged with Aggravated assault after opening fire on police on January 3, 2021, when they responded to a domestic incident. Stryker was also charged with misdemeanor simple assault and reckless endangerment for pointing a gun at his girlfriend.
When police arrived, Stryker refused to surrender and continued the standoff for approximately 10 hours. A Lancaster County Special Response Emergency Team (SERT) fired a shot at Stryker when he exited the home with a rifle drawn and aimed at police, which was later deemed justified by DA Adams.
Nobody was struck by gunfire.
“You are alive today for one reason and one reason only,” Judge Wright said to the defendant during sentencing. “On January 3, 2021, [the officers] allowed you to live. After you took two shots at them, they would have been entirely justified to return fire. Return fire to what, according to the file, was a clear target.
“But they did not. They showed restraint. They showed the result of thorough training. And most of all, they showed mercy. For that, I am in awe. And for that, for every day you have been alive since January 3, 2021, and for every day forward from today, you should show gratitude.”
SERT officers eventually arrested Stryker around 9:15 p.m. after he exited his residence a second time using non-lethal actions. A police K-9 controlled Stryker allowing officers to arrest the defendant.
Stryker was charged with six counts of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and possession of a weapon for his actions during the standoff.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Miller prosecuted the case. West Hempfield Township Police Officer James Gardill and Sergeant Christopher Kunkle filed charges.
Multiple agencies were involved in the investigation, including West Hempfield Township Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, Lancaster County SERT, Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office, and Lancaster County Detectives.
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