You might read about such stories in the news from time to time, and not really think much about them.
But it’s a little bit different when there’s a search being conducted for a wanted fugitive right in your own backyard.
That was the case last week for one member of our editorial board, who lives in the area of Butler Township where U.S. Marshals and other law enforcement personnel have been looking for Shawn Christy.
The McAdoo man has been on the run for more than a month after allegedly posting threats on Facebook about shooting President Trump in the head, using lethal force on any officer who tries to detain him, and killing Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli.
Christy, 27, has been in the news for notorious reasons before. When he was just 18, former Alaska governor and ex-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin got a protection-from-abuse order against him for a series of emails he allegedly sent her. Christy and his father then got arrested for allegedly harassing Palin’s lawyers in phone calls.
As a result of all that, Shawn ended up doing time in federal prison. Odd incidents have since followed, including a 2017 case where he’s accused of swinging a large stick at McAdoo’s mayor in an argument over snow removal.
When word came last week that the wanted man had broken into his relative’s home in Drums — a short walk from where a Times Leader editor lives — the initial reaction was fear. But it was quickly followed by anger.
Fear, of course, because U.S. Marshals reported he had stolen guns from his relative’s place. And who knows what a desperate person is capable of doing.
Anger then set in because who the heck does this one guy think he is to cause all this fuss and put so many law-abiding folks on edge!
We saw Marshals in body armor staging off a rural road Thursday morning, about ready to enter the woods where they had tracked Christy the day before. (Law enforcement sources tell us heavy rain last Wednesday night threw searchers off his trail.)
Christy, whether it be through luck or survival skills or both, has managed to evade capture thus far. But he will not forever. That much we’re almost certain of.
However, over the course of the last week or so, our editor’s view of Christy has changed from anger for causing inconvenience to pity.
This poor soul obviously developed deep-rooted issues somewhere on the way to full adulthood.
Still, in some ways, he’s much like any young guy. (We happened to bump into a woman who claimed she used to work with Shawn and he used to flirt with her.)
We also saw what his parents wrote on social media, appealing for him to end all this:
“Shawn Christy, our son, please surrender yourself. Come home, the door is open. Stealing your uncle’s guns has elevated the situation to a place it should not have gone.”
Christy is a young man who somehow got lost in this world. Like his parents said, he needs to surrender before he or someone else gets hurt.
Face the music, take the punishment if you’re found guilty, then try to start again with a clean slate and some help.
This doesn’t have to end tragically.
And we continue to hold out hope it does not.
The public can help. The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to Christy’s arrest, and the U.S. Marshals Service has put up an additional $5,000.
To call in tips: 1-877-WANTED-2 or 1-877-926-8332.
— Times Leader