Albrightsville man charged with discharge of firearm during dispute with brother


An Albrightsville man is behind bars after his gun went off while rolling on the floor with his brother during a dispute.

Thomas O’Rourke, 52, faces charges of discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and harassment.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by trooper Jonathan Hontz of the Pennsylvania State Police Fern Ridge barracks:

Hontz was dispatched at 7:37 a.m. to 579 Old Stage Road, Penn Forest Township, for a physical altercation in which a firearm was discharged within the residence.

Upon arrival, Hontz saw O’Rourke standing in his driveway on Old Stage Road.

He said that after a verbal altercation with the victim, his brother, O’Rourke went over to the victim’s residence, entered his bedroom, and got into his face and began to argue further about how he was the only one helping to take care of their mother.

He said that the victim pushed him away, and they began to wrestle on the ground. He said his black pistol fell out of the holster on his right hip.

He said he reached for the pistol and it shot off near his brother during the struggle.

The victim said that he and O’Rourke had a verbal altercation on Nov. 3 over the telephone.

He said that he laid down after taking his prescribed medication, and that’s when O’Rourke entered his bedroom and placed his hands around his neck.

The victim then pushed O’Rourke away and they began to wrestle on the floor, at which time O’Rourke was holding a pistol next to his left ear.

The victim was then evaluated by Lehighton EMS.

The bullet casing from the bullet that was fired was recovered within the bedroom of the victim.

At 8:26 a.m. Nov. 3, Hontz read O’Rourke his Miranda rights, and he confessed to having entered into the victim’s bedroom, begun a physical altercation and fired the pistol within the victim’s residence.

At 8:54 a.m. Nov. 3, Carbon County Assistant District Attorney Bob Fryckland approved the charges via telephone.

O’Rourke is currently incarcerated in Carbon County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail.

He is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing at 2:45 p.m. Nov. 14 before District Judge Eric Schrantz of Jim Thorpe.

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