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Man fires at officers with AK-47 a day after refusing to wear a mask, police say

Adam Zaborowski had lost his job because of the pandemic and recently lost custody of his child, his attorney said, adding that it was "not a defense or excuse."

A man in Pennsylvania opened fire last week on a Bethlehem cigar store employee after refusing to wear a mask inside the store, police said.

The next day, police said, he shot at officers with an AK-47 during a traffic stop near his home.

A man identified by police as Adam Zaborowski, 35, of Slatington, entered Cigars International in Bethlehem Township, about 70 miles north of Philadelphia, at 11:23 a.m. Friday, police said. He was not wearing a face covering as the store requires and the governor has mandated, according to Bethlehem police.

Employees advised the man that customers must wear masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, police said.

Police said the staff told Zaborowski that if he was not comfortable wearing a face covering, they would serve him curbside. Zaborowski became irate, grabbed two cigars from a shelf and exited the store without paying, police alleged.

Police accused Zaborowski of pulling out a semiautomatic handgun and firing once in the air and twice at an employee who confronted him outside. A patron was sitting outside the store in the direction he fired, police said.

No one was injured, and Zaborowski fled, said police, who said he was identified by investigators and charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, robbery and reckless endangerment.

"Due to prior offenses, he was also charged with persons prohibited to possess a firearm," police said.

At 9:35 a.m. Saturday, a Slatington police officer and two Pennsylvania state troopers stopped Zaborowski while he was driving, authorities said. After he stopped, he jumped out of the vehicle and started shooting at police with an AK-47, striking a Slatington police car, State Trooper Nathan Branosky said.

"Both the Slatington Borough officer and troopers returned fire and struck Zaborowski," Branosky said.

Zaborowski was flown to a hospital. The Slatington police officer suffered a minor injury, state police said. No troopers were hurt.

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Zaborowski's attorney, John Waldron, said his client is in a hospital recovering from gunshot wounds to his leg and buttocks.

Zaborowski faces 22 charges related to the Slatington incident, including attempted homicide, aggravated assault and robbery, Waldron said Monday.

Zaborowski, who is being held on $1 million bail, had lost his job because of the coronavirus pandemic and had recently lost custody of his child, Waldron said.

"Not a defense or excuse, but he had stressors going on in his life," Waldron said. "A lot of people have stress, and some handle it better than others."