Lancaster County man accused of threatening partygoers, police with shotgun

CHRISTIANA, Lancaster County — A 19-year-old Christiana is facing multiple charges after threatening several people — including a police officer — with a shotgun during a drunken outburst at a party last month, according to Christiana Borough Police.

Joseph Erie Depew, of West Slokom Avenue, was charged earlier this month with two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of terroristic threats, and one count each of possessing the instruments of crime, recklessly endangering another person, disorderly conduct, simple assault, harassment, underage drinking, public drunkenness, and illegally discharging a firearm.

The incident occurred Saturday, June 30 at 8:58 p.m., when police were called to West Slokom Avenue for the report of an intoxicated person who was threatening to harm himself and others at a backyard party.

An officer on his way to the scene reported hearing a gunshot as he approached the location, according to the criminal complaint. Dispatch reported that the suspect was now in a wooded area behind the home and had fired a shot into the air, the criminal complaint said.

Witnesses told police that the suspect, later identified as Depew, had been running through the backyard with a shotgun, threatening anyone who got in his way, according to the criminal complaint.

Police cleared the area and began searching for Depew, who was still reportedly in the wooded area behind the home. While searching for Depew, an officer reported that he heard the sound of a stick snapping behind him, and when he turned to look, saw Depew standing about 20 feet away, pointing a shotgun at the officer, the criminal complaint says.

The officer drew his own service weapon and ordered Depew to drop his weapon, and Depew complied, according to police. He was then taken into custody.

Police report Depew threatened to kill himself several times and was visibly intoxicated. He was transported to Lancaster General Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.