DA: Robbery victim, 65, justified in shooting of teens on trail

Shooter was teens' third random victim Wednesday morning, officials say

DA: Robbery victim, 65, justified in shooting teens on trail

CUMRU TWP., Pa. - A 65-year-old man was justified in shooting two of three teenagers who were attempting to rob him as he rode his bicycle along a popular river trail Wednesday morning, authorities announced Thursday.

The ordeal unfolded shortly before 11 a.m. on the Thun Trail in Cumru Twp., Berks Co.

The teens knocked the man off his bicycle and onto the ground in their third random robbery attempt in about an hour's time, said Berks County District Attorney John Adams.

Two of the teens were assaulting the man when he pulled out a gun and shot them, police said.

"While I don't condone violence, the bike rider had no choice," said Adams. "He was in danger of death and serious bodily injury. The bike rider did not provoke the situation."

The man is licensed to carry a gun, said Adams.

One of the alleged assailants, Julius Johnson, 16, a student in the Reading School District who skipped school Wednesday, died at the scene of a gunshot wound to the chest, officials said.

Another teen, a 15-year-old student in the Governor Mifflin School District, was also shot and taken to a hospital for surgery. He is expected to be charged when he's discharged from the hospital, Adams said.

The third teen, a 16-year-old boy, was uninjured and committed to the county's Youth Detention Center.

Johnson had previous run-ins with the law and skipping school violated his probation, Adams said. Probation officers went to his home Wednesday morning, placed an electronic monitoring device on him and told the other two teens to go back to school, Adams said.

"Mr. Johnson and the two other juveniles did not go back to school, and Mr. Johnson did not obey his probation officers."

Instead, Adams said, the teens went into West Reading and assaulted an elderly man and another man before targeting the bicyclist.

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