The Bucks County District Attorney’s Office has cleared a Bensalem Township Police Officer for his role in shooting a suspect accused of robbing a Langhorne 7-Eleven in early June.
Additionally, the suspect, who was shot, is now charged with robbery, aggravated assault, and related charges. Charles Emrich Jr., 54, is being held on 10% of $950,000 bail.
Authorities say Emrich and his roommate, John Sugalski, 66, left their home on the 300 block of Hulmeville Avenue with the intention to rob the 7-Eleven on N. Pine Street. What they did not realize was an officer was following them to the store.
On Jun. 6, Emrich entered the 7-Eleven around 9:30 p.m. while Sugalski waited in a vehicle outside, according to court documents. The officer came in to confront him in the act, and found Emrich had jumped the counter and removed the cash register drawer.
Instead of surrendering, DA Matt Weintraub says Emerich began “howling like an animal.” Then, police say he started charging the officer with a visible weapon in his pocket.
“Unquestionably, Emrich disregarded lawful commands to stop and drop his weapon. Emrich clearly placed the officer and the two store clerks in apparent and imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury,” Weintraub concluded.
The officer shot Emrich twice in the abdomen while Sugalski fled the scene, according to officials. First responders took Emrich to the hospital where he recovered.
Authorities revealed the shooting officer was assigned to the FBI BucksMont Safe Streets Violent Crime Task Force. The FBI had been investigating upwards of ten similar robberies at 7-Eleven stores in Bucks and Hamilton Township.
Sugalski’s preliminary hearing was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, but has since been rescheduled. An employee with District Court 07-1-07 in Penndel clarified both Emrich and Sugalski qualified for the same public defender. This would have created a conflict of interest.