Hastings man arrested after allegedly pulling handgun on Patton officer

·2 min read

Jul. 14—A Hastings man was lodged in the Cambria County Prison early Wednesday, accused of pointing a loaded .22 caliber handgun at a Patton Borough police officer.

Officer Travis Schilling said he was able to deploy his Taser stun gun before 24-year-old Austin Yannella acted further, dropping the man to the ground and enabling him to be taken into custody.

It appears to be the second time in a year that Yannella has been charged with pointing a gun at another person, court records show.

The Patton incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday after Schilling said he observed a Chevy Malibu pass through a steady red light while traveling onto Magee Avenue, the borough's main street.

In a criminal complaint, he wrote that Yannella's vehicle pulled over in a convenience store parking lot, but the man then exited his vehicle and refused to return to the car, despite commands.

He said Yannella instead "began yelling" at him to get away and started walking in another direction.

After Schilling approached him, the man "began clenching his fists and jumping up and down."

At that point, Schilling said he pulled his Taser from its holster — but Yannella instead walked around his police cruiser and pulled a black heritage from his waistband, which the officer said was pointed in his direction.

"This officer deployed my taser and released (it) and pulled my service weapon, but at this time, the defendant was lying on the ground still under the effects of the taser," he wrote.

With a bystander's help, Schilling said he took Yannella into custody and backup units arrived at the scene and took possession of the handgun.

Schilling said an inspection of Yannella's weapon showed one round was already in the firing position with its hammer back.

Police later learned Yannella is a convicted felon, prohibited from carrying a weapon, and that the gun is unregistered.

The Hastings man was also driving while his license to operate a vehicle was suspended.

Yannella faces three counts of aggravated assault, disorderly conduct and weapon charges, as well as summary offenses for vehicle-related violations.

He was placed in the Cambria County Prison after failing to post his $50,000 percentage bond.

Court records show Yannella has several past convictions for terroristic threats and property damage and is awaiting trial on three cases this year, including another charge of terroristic threats and simple assault for a November 2020 incident.

In Blair County, he pleaded guilty to the threat charges after pulling a 12-gauge shotgun on a man in Altoona.

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