Suspect shot by police facing attempted homicide charges

Stress management team works with officers involved in shootings

READING, Pa. - A man shot by police as he allegedly tried to run down a pair of officers remains hospitalized under armed guard.

Once he's medically cleared, police said Rodney Hojnowski will be arraigned on charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and a host of other offenses.

Spring Township Ofc. Jarrod Schappell and Detective Stephen Brock shot at Hojnowski as he was driving his car at them in the area of Route 724 and Iroquois Avenue on Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Hojnowski was hit in the chest, but police said he managed to drive more than a mile before collapsing near his home on Cleveland Avenue.

Hojnowski was wanted for a parole violation, police said.

It was the second police-involved shootings in Berks County in two days.

The officers are trained for the situations, but it can be a very stressful and emotional time for them.

First, it was an alleged robber caught in the act Monday at the M&T Bank at Eighth and Penn avenues in Wyomissing.

Investigators said Dragos Ungurean tried to rob the bank, claiming to have an explosive. Ungurean was shot in the stomach by Detective George Bell, who just happened to be making a deposit in the bank.

"You're wrestling with somebody and it's a contact shot in a sort of life or death struggle," said Daniel Billings, the Fraternal Order of Police's state coordinator of the Critical Incident Stress Management program.

On Tuesday, there was another officer-involved shooting on Route 724 in Spring Township. Hojnowski was pulled over and then shot through the windshield after he hit the gas and tried to run over the officers, said police.

"You're about to be struck by this automobile and you have to react. You fear for your life. You're trying to use your training and you're trying to get out of the way," said Billings.

The FOP rolled out the statewide stress management program three years ago to help officers deal with the stress of using deadly force. They are on the scene immediately following a shooting to help evaluate the officer.

"If you shoot somebody or you get shot or both, you need to understand some of the changes that are going to happen rapidly," said Billings.

Each person deals with the stress differently, said Billings. There is a seven-step debriefing process to help avoid post-traumatic stress.

"After about six weeks, if you have not returned close to your state of where you were before, we urge you to go see one of our docs and have more follow up," said Billings.

The program does not release any information regarding the state of the officers, but Billings said both shootings appear to have been a justifiable use of force.

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