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Officer involved in ambush speaks out

HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)--We are learning more about the ambush shootings of Hazleton police officers on Monday.

That ambush led to a five hour standoff with the suspect eventually taking his own life. One of those officers spoke with Eyewitness News about the ambush. 

Sargeant Kirk Wetzel says it is a day he will never forget. Adding, he knows how close he and his fellow officers came to being wounded or even killed. 

Sgt. Wetzel and Corporal Ed Macalarney went to the home to check on Joseph Polin who had written some threatening posts on social media. Macalarney went to the rear door, Wetzel to the front door.

"I heard my Corporal yelling he has had contact with him at the back door and could see the individual. at that time I heard a gunshot and I heard Corporal Macalarney responding back that the individual was armed and just tooik a shot at him. Macalarney returned fire on the individual," Sgt. Kirk Wetzel said.

Wetzel ran around the side of the house back up to Macalarney, saying he didn't have time to think about what was happening.

"All your training kicks in all the training that we've had since 2000 when I became employed as a police officer. My initial concern is for my partner and make sure he is safe and that he didn't require  first aid and also to protect the surrounding citizens in the general area," Sgt. Wetzel said.

That ambush led to a five hour standoff with Polin then police later found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Wetzel says the incident only reinforce what all police officers already know, or should know.

"There is no such thing as a routine call.. it's something as simple as going up to check on the welfare of somebody make sure they are okay and have this turn out like this..nothing is a routine call," Sgt. Wetzel said.

"It could have been much worse.. thank God it turned out the way it did..none of the officers were hurt."

Sgt. Wetzel says he tried to contact Polin by cell phone through the standoff but he never responded. Investigators say Polin had been communicating with his landlord at around midday. He was found dead around 1pm.

 

 


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