EBENSBURG, Pa. – A Hastings man who pulled a gun on Patton’s police chief was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison last week in Cambria County court.
Austin Michael Yannella, 24, was sentenced on Jan. 6 to spend 7½ to 15 years in prison by Judge Tamara R. Bernstein.
Yannella was convicted in October on two counts of aggravated assault, carrying a firearm without a license, recklessly endangering another person and two counts each of simple assault and resisting arrest in a jury trial. Yannella also was found guilty of two summary traffic offenses at that time.
Yannella was arrested in July after he had been pulled over into the Sheetz parking lot in Patton for a traffic incident. Police said he became irate, clenched his fist and pulled a gun on Chief Travis Schilling.
During the trial, Schilling testified that he knew to pull his Taser stun gun when the defendant clenched his fist. He said that Yannella then allegedly pulled a .22-caliber revolver from his waistband and put it to his side.
According to Schilling, Yannella then raised his other arm and advised the officer that he was going to have to kill him, and that was when Schilling deployed his Taser.
Schilling, who has been an officer for 20 years, said that the situation caused him to reach out to a program for officers involved in high-intensity incidents. Three weeks before the trial, Schilling was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the incident.
Officers from Carrolltown Borough and Hastings Borough testified that they heard Schilling’s voice over the radio and began to head toward the Patton Sheetz to assist him even before 911 dispatchers called for assistance.
The two officers who testified were familiar with Schilling and noted that they could tell by his voice over the radio that he needed assistance.
A witness to the incident testified that she had feared for the officer’s safety and had her own weapon ready if needed to intervene.