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Man pleads guilty to pointing replica gun at Falls Township officers


A 21-year-old man pleaded guilty on Wednesday, May 22, to twice pointing a replica handgun at Falls Township officers last year, prompting the officers to fire in self-defense.

Benjamin Fell, of Middletown Township, survived the March 28, 2023, shooting and on Wednesday pleaded guilty to two counts of felony aggravated assault and felony fleeing and eluding police, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office said. He also pleaded guilty to possession of an instrument of crime and reckless driving.

Bucks County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey L. Finley sentenced him to 11 ½ to 23 months in the Bucks County Correctional Facility, followed by a consecutive sentence of three years of probation.

In sentencing Fell, Finley took into account the danger Fell placed on other motorists and the emotional toll placed on the officers who were forced to fire their weapons. “The effect on the officers is what really has my stomach turning,” he said.

During the hearing, First Assistant District Attorney Edward M. Louka presented body camera footage from two Falls Township officers that captured the high-speed pursuit that ended when one of the officers used a precision immobilization technique (PIT) maneuver to stop Fell. The body camera footage also captured the officer’s firing their weapons at Fell when he pointed what appeared to be a handgun at them, which Louka acknowledged was a “suicide by cop” attempt.

The investigation into the shooting was conducted by the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office and concluded that the officers were reasonable in their individual beliefs that their lives were placed in clear and present danger at the time of the shooting, and they were justified in discharging their weapons and shooting Fell.

The incident began with a routine traffic stop of a speeding and reckless motorist on Lincoln Highway, in the area of Lincoln Circle, just after midnight on March 28, 2023. The driver of a 2007 silver Ford Focus, later identified as Fell, came to a brief stop, and then fled once the emergency lights were activated, hitting speeds of at least 75 miles per hour in a 40-mph zone.

After a brief pursuit, Fell came to a complete stop on Lincoln Highway, near Oak Lane. Fell started to open his car door and the officer ordered him to stay in the car. Fell continued getting out of the car, and the officer repeatedly ordered him to put his hands up.

The officer saw what appeared to be a dark gun-shaped object in Fell’s right hand and ordered him to drop it. Instead, Fell pointed the gun at the officer and the officer fired two rounds.

Fell got back in his car and sped off, leading two officers on a pursuit that topped speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. The officers stopped him at New Ford Mill Road and Steel Road West, more than four miles from where the pursuit began. Seconds after stopping, Fell got out of the vehicle and pointed the gun at the officers who fired and struck Fell.

After Fell was shot, police secured the firearm and rendered aid to Fell until paramedics arrived. He was transported to a hospital, where he underwent surgery for his injuries. Both officers were uninjured.

The investigation revealed that the apparent gun that he possessed and aimed repeatedly at officers was in fact a CO2 air gun made to look like a Glock handgun. A detective with the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, who is a firearms expert, performed an initial observation of the replica gun and could not distinguish it from an authentic firearm, until further examination.

The Bucks County District Attorney’s Office and the Falls Township Police Department were assisted in this case by Middletown Township Police, Tullytown Borough Police, and Morrisville Police.

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