Bethlehem Township, PA (WorkersCompensation.com) – Attorneys for a Pennsylvania man said he was “not handling the pandemic well” after he shot at a cigar store employee and later police officers over a mask dispute..
According to police reports, Adam Zaborowksi, 35, entered Cigars International in Bethlehem Township and was asked by employees to put on a mask, per store policy.
“The staff even told Zaborowski that if he was not comfortable wearing a face covering they would take his order curbside,” police reports said. “Zaborowski became irate, grabbed two cigars from a shelf and exited without paying.”
When a store employee follow him outside asking him to return the cigars, Zaborowski pulled out a semiautomatic handgun and fired one round into the air and another two rounds at the employee, before fleeing the scene.
Police identified Zaborowski and were waiting the next morning with state troopers for him to come out of his house in Slatington, Penn. Instead, he jumped into his truck and drove off. Officers followed him, eventually stopping him. At that time, they said he exited his vehicle and began firing at police officers with an AK-47 and a semiautomatic handgun.
“Both the Slatington Borough officer and troopers returned fire and struck Zaborowski,” State Trooper Nathan Branosky said in a news release.
Zaborowski was shot in the buttocks and the leg, but is expected to recover. He was charged with 22 counts, including attempted homicide, aggravated assault and robbery, according to the Express Times.
“He just wasn’t dealing well with the loss of his job, the loss of his child, just not handling the pandemic well,” John Waldron, Zaborowski’s attorney, told the Express-Times on Sunday. “I think he was getting stretched too tight.”
Neither the cigar shop employee nor any of the police officers were hurt in the exchanges.
The incident joins a growing list of assaults on workers who are charged with enforcing mask policies in their workplaces.
On July 14, two men not wearing face masks entered a Trader Joe’s in Manhattan, and attacked grocery store employees – including hitting employees with a wooden paddle – when they were asked to cover their faces. In the last two weeks of July, a San Francisco bus driver was attacked with a bat for asking teenagers to cover their faces; a bus driver in Texas was attacked with a 2 x 4 after she told a man he couldn’t come on the bus without a mask; the manager of a Michigan restaurant, and its hostess, were attacked when a customer became enraged after being asked to wear a mask; and two Washington, D.C. restaurant employees were assaulted after enforcing mask rules.
Earlier this year, in May, a security guard at a Flint, Mich., Family Dollar was shot and killed enforcing mask requirements.
In light of the violence, many large retailers – like Walmart, Target and Lowe’s – have said they will not enforce their store policies requiring customers to wear masks, citing worries about attacks on employees.