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Wanted man drives off after being shot by police

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Mar 20 2012 12:17:29 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 21 2012 04:29:07 AM CDT

Spring Township shooting

SPRING TWP., Pa. -

A Berks County man was shot by police after he allegedly tried to run the officers down with his car. 

The police gunfire hit him in the chest, but the suspect still managed to drive back to a home in Spring Township before collapsing.

State police said Spring Township police knew Rodney Hojnowski was wanted for a parole violation, and that's why they tried to pull him over Tuesday afternoon.

Around 1 p.m. Tuesday gunfire broke out on 724 (or Shillington Road) and Iroquis Avenue in Spring Township.

"I just heard pop, pop, pop," said Sharron Meiser.

The shots, fired by police, were aimed at Rodney Hojnowski.

"State parole had been looking for him for two weeks," said Trooper David Beohm.

State police said two Spring Township officers tried to pull over 31-year-old Hojnowski.

"He had pulled into the exit of the CVS, they got out, approached the vehicle and at that point he accelerated at them," said Beohm.

There were at least four bullet casings found at the scene.  Beohm said he can understand why the officers felt compelled to shoot.

"He's trying to hurt them, or seriously injure or kill them, then the police officer has the right to use deadly force to stop the action," said Beohm.

But Hojnowski's childhood friend, Kevin Stofka, finds it hard to believe.

"I don't know the whole entire story," said Stofka, "I just know he wouldn't put himself in the position where he would be shot on site."

State police said Hojnowski was shot in the chest, but he continued to drive to a home on Cleveland Avenue.

"Obviously, he was hurt and he needed to get somewhere where his family was," said Stofka.

"He got out of the car and collapsed onto the sidewalk," said Beohm.

The two officers were right behind him.

"Both pursuing officers rendered him medical assistance until EMS arrived," said Beohm.

Route 724 was shut down for several hours while state police investigated the two scenes.

State police said Hojnowski is in critical but stable condition and charges will be filed as soon as he is medically cleared.