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Suspect’s jammed gun saved life of man in Saturday night police standoff

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. - East Pennsboro Township Police have identified the suspect they arrested following a nearly three-hour standoff last night.

Police and special tactical units were called to the 200-block of State Street at about 7:40 pm.  for a shooting.  When officers arrived on the scene, they found a 33-year old male victim who had been shot.  The alleged gunman, Bilal Watts, 35, who lived at the residence, had returned home and was barricaded inside with a female hostage.

A three hour standoff with the Cumberland County Special Response team ensued. Watts finally emerged from the residence, behind the female hostage, using her as a human shield. Police were able to take Watts into custody.

Investigators learned that after the initial shooting, Watts returned to his home and threatened to kill the woman if she left the residence. Watts shot the male victim in the leg and then pointed the gun at the victim's head, but was unable to shoot him because the gun jammed.

A motive in the shooting is still under investigation. The victim is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Charges filed against Watts include Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, Person Not to Possess a Firearm, False Imprisonment, Terrorists Threats and Resisting Arrest.

Watts is being held on $500,000 bail at Cumberland County Prison. He faces a preliminary hearing on Monday, January 4th at 11:15 a.m. before District Justice Richard Dougherty.

East Pennsboro Police were assisted on the scene by the Cumberland County SRT Team, the District Attorney's office, PA State Police, East Pennsboro Fire and EMS.