Man arrested after school placed on lockdown

June 23rd, 2015 7:31 pm

First Posted: 11/18/2013

JENKINS TWP. — Pittston Area High School was put on lockdown and two people were taken to a hospital Monday after, police allege, a man assaulted a woman and her 4-month-old son and fired a gun at her.

Township police arrested Eric Phillips, 32, of Willow Road, Jenkins Township, at his father’s house in Laflin about a half hour after the domestic dispute at Phillips’ residence.

According to arrest papers, Luzerne County 911 notified township police at about 12:20 p.m. of shots fired at 214 Willow Road. Brooke Ciprich, who resides with Phillips, told 911 that Phillips had assaulted her and fired three rounds from a handgun at her. Ciprich said she was holding her son at the time.

Ciprich also told 911 Phillips stated during the argument he had several magazines for the handgun fully loaded and would shoot any police officers that arrived at the home, arrest papers state.

Township Police Chief Frank Mudlock responded immediately and was met there by officers from Pittston city, Pittston Township, West Pittston, Exeter and Laflin as well as Luzerne County detectives. Mudlock was met there by Phillips’ father, Al Phillips, who said he did not believe his son was there because his son’s pickup was not in the driveway.

The incident led to the nearby Pittston Area High School being locked down for about an hour, a school official said.

Brooke Ciprich and her son were transported to Geisinger-Community Medical Center in Scranton. Police said the woman suffered injuries to her right wrist and neck, and the child had injuries to his head.

Laflin police officer Vince Zerblas spotted Eric Phillips’ truck at 12:51 p.m. parked near Al Phillips’ residence on Main Street in Laflin and police converged. Arriving first, Plains Township officer Mike Augustine joined Zerblas on the back porch, and Al Phillips appeared at the door and confirmed his son was there. Al Phillips went back inside and he and his son began arguing loudly, police said.

Augustine and Zerblas entered the house and saw Eric Phillips holding a handgun, and he refused their commands to put it down. Augustine then used a Taser on Eric Phillips and officers took him into custody, police said.

Mudlock and Lt. Detective Gary Capitano of the county District Attorney’s Office filed charges of aggravated assault, simple assault — attempt by menace, simple assault — attempt, and terroristic threats against Phillips. He was arraigned in Swoyersville by District Judge David Barilla.

When responding to Barilla’s questions, Phillips said he was previously arrested on an assault charge and his fiancee bailed him out. He said he has been laid off for about a year from a job as a union operator working on a wind turbine site in Noxen.

Asked if he understood the charges against him, Phillips replied, “Sir, no I don’t because I wasn’t arrested at the residence. I wasn’t at the residence when all these charges took place.”

Unable to post bail, Phillips was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Dec. 4 before District Judge Andrew Barilla in Pittston.