Police: Man shoots himself in buttocks with stolen handgun

Aug. 3—WILKES-BARRE — A man who reportedly smoked marijuana all day and had an odor of an alcoholic beverage shot himself in the buttocks with a stolen .45 caliber handgun near Public Square on Monday.

William Delanor Stokes, 45, of East Union Street, Wilkes-Barre, was discovered bleeding for his buttocks when he confronted officers detaining his friend on East Union Street at about 5 p.m., according to court records.

Police allege Stokes shot himself in a parking lot near 19 N. Main St.

According to the criminal complaint:

Stokes and two men were loitering in the parking lot when they were asked to leave by a security officer for Blue Cross. Stokes and companions left but returned later to the parking lot where they engaged in an argument with each other.

Police said one of the men reached into his waistband when a gunshot was heard resulting in Stokes and the two men running away toward East Union Street.

Police said they found a spent .45-cal slug, blood and a piece of denim in the parking lot.

As officers searched the area, a man was spotted laying in a distressed position on a bench on East Union Street.

Officers approached the man who had an overpowering odor of burnt marijuana and an alcoholic beverage.

As officers were detaining the man for public drunkenness, Stokes emerged yelling, "Why are you arresting him?" the complaint says.

Police said Stokes was standing on East Union Street impeding traffic and had an odor of alcohol and burnt marijuana.

During a pat down search, officers noticed Stokes was bleeding from his buttocks and had a hole in his denim jeans, consistent with the piece of denim found in the parking lot, the complaint says.

Police in the complaint say the three men were drinking and smoking marijuana all day and were in the parking lot at 19 N. Main St., where a firearm Stokes concealed in his waistband discharged. After the shooting, Stokes and the three men fled to Stokes' apartment at 22 E. Union St. where police recovered Colt .45-cal handgun that was reported stolen to Wilkes-Barre police in November 2015, according to the complaint.

Stokes was arraigned by District Judge James J. Haggerty in Luzerne County Central Court on charges of receiving stolen property, firearms not to be carried without a license and reckless endangerment. He was jailed at the county correctional facility for lack of $35,000 bail.