WAYNE COUNTY — Wayne County District Attorney Patrick L. Robinson has determined the shooting death of James A. Sorrentino, 37, of Prompton, on June 25 by the Pennsylvania State Police to be legally justified.
The ruling comes after reviewing the final report provided by the PSP on July 26, and the independent report prepared by Wayne County Chief Detective Peter Hower issued Aug. 3.
Robinson said in a statement:
“I reach this finding being fully aware that James A. Sorrentino suffered from severe mental health issues.
“However, it must be under- stood that family members, neighbors, innocent bystanders and police officers shot by a person with mental health issues are just as dead as those victims shot by people without mental health issues. The State Police acted appropriately in this case and in fact they showed great restraint throughout this entire incident.
“I sympathize with the family of James A. Sorrentino. The Sorrentino family was extremely cooperative throughout this entire investigation. This was obviously a terrible but unavoidable outcome.”
According to the release issued by the District Attorney’s office:
On June 25 at approximately 2:15 am, Troopers from Troop R, Honesdale responded to 40 Balsam Swamp Road for the report of a domestic assault involving weapons. James was recently hospitalized for bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia.
In the early hours of June 25, 2018, James was acting strangely, pacing nervously, banging and breaking things in the residence.
When his brother, Charles, and his mother, Patricia, attempted to calm James down, James grabbed a steak knife and in a threatening manner related that the whole family was going to die.
Charles and Patricia escaped the residence.
James obtained a shotgun from a gun safe, went onto the porch and fired a shot- gun round at his brother and mother.
Troopers responded and formed a perimeter around the property. Troopers held the perimeter and gave verbal commands to James, to which he didn’t comply.
James was observed acting erratically for several hours, throwing items from the house, carrying weapons around, undressing himself, screaming obscenities and not listening to any commands given by the Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) negotiator.
Troopers observed James on the front porch actively loading a magazine of an assault rifle.
At approximately 7:13 am, despite commands to stop, the subject raised the long gun and fired his weapon toward Troopers on the perimeter.
Three Troopers returned fire. A total of four shots were fired.
James was struck by a single gunshot to the neck and died as a result.
A search warrant was approved for the Sorrentino residence.
A total of 21 weapons were seized and the scene was processed.
The three troopers who fired shots were interviewed by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Chief County Detective from the Wayne County District Attorney’s Office.