A young man was critically wounded by police early yesterday morning after barricading himself in a Pottstown home for more than six hours, threatening to commit suicide, then leading police on a car chase that ended in West Norriton.
Sean Edelman, believed to be 19, was shot multiple times by police after he pointed a handgun at officers in the Wachovia Bank parking lot at Egypt Road and Ridge Pike, according to a news release from the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.
He was listed in critical condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania yesterday afternoon.
The events began shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday, at 443 Highland Rd., and escalated until Edelman managed to get into a car and flee around midnight.
The Highland Road house belongs to Earl and Amy Peacock, co-owners of Montco Silicon Technologies Inc. in Spring City, which recycles silicon wafers used in computers, cars and TV sets. Edelman was believed to be the only person in the home at the time, said Kevin R. Steele, deputy district attorney.
Law enforcement officials refused to release more information about Edelman, including his age.
But Ann McAlpin, who lives across the street, said that Edelman was the Peacocks' nephew and that he visited them frequently.
"This is a real tragedy because he was a really kind young man," she said. "He would come over and mow my lawn, just because he was a nice guy."
Police found a note inside the Highland Road residence after the incident, apparently authored by Edelman, that said, "I'm sorry I just can't do it any longer. I don't even have credit with you." The meaning of the note was unclear.
The Peacocks could not be reached for comment. A neighbor whose home they were in yesterday morning said they likely would not have any comment.
McAlpin said Edelman had graduated from high school and planned to join the Army a year ago, but that didn't happen.
Police tried for hours in person and by phone to persuade Edelman to come out of the house.
"They really cared and tried to get him out safely. They weren't aggressive at all," said McAlpin, who watched from her home. "They wanted to help him."
At one point, police heard gunshots in the house, then saw Edelman walking around inside with a gun, according to the news release.
Shortly after midnight, Edelman left the house through a back door, ignored police commands to stop, and drove away in a Hummer that had been parked in the driveway, according to the news release. He accelerated in the direction of officers, who fired at the vehicle, then he sped off.
"He drove up on the sidewalk and missed, amazingly enough, all the cars that were there," McAlpin said. All the streetlights had been turned off, she said.
Other police departments joined in the chase as Edelman got on Route 422 east, then onto Egypt Road. After officers shot Edelman, they found a loaded .45-caliber handgun with a laser sight in his possession, authorities said in the news release.
Edelman was flown by Medevac helicopter to the hospital.
State police, Lower Providence police, Royersford police, and Collegeville police assisted.