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Shooting Happened After Man Was Criticized for Not Covering His Mouth When Coughing: Cops

Remember the most important thing about coughing: Do it into your elbow, not your hand Please don’t shoot people, or cars, for that matter.

As seen on a bystander’s video, a dicey confrontation happened at a Sheetz parking lot in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on Saturday. A man can be seen popping caps into a vehicle. The driver of the car fled. The alleged root of this altercation is equal parts silly, surreal, and topical: The gunman had been criticized for not covering his mouth while coughing.

Guillermo Alvarez, 56, was charged as the alleged shooter, according to WJAC-TV. The man identified as the driver is in trouble, too. Police say that William Sauro, 53, escalated the situation by hitting the gunman with the car before the shooting.

This shooting is being attributed to the anxiety over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I think the incident to a certain extent maybe as a result of the frustrations, maybe some anxiety that people in general are feeling right now with the uncertainties of what’s going on with COVID-19,” said Cambria County District Attorney Greg Neugebauer.

Frustration is perhaps an understatement.

Sauro claimed to see Alvarez “coughing but not covering” in the Sheetz parking lot, police said. He allegedly told the other man to cover up because of COVID-19. In his alleged account, there was an argument, and Alvarez pulled out a gun and fired multiple shots at Sauro’s vehicle.

But police said they checked out the surveillance footage. According to them, it showed Alvarez stopping at the front door of the convenience store, and looking back at Sauro, who was in the vehicle. They were apparently talking. Alvarez walked over, officers said. Sauro stepped out of the car, but then got back in, and hit Alvarez, according to authorities. That sparked the shooting, police said. Sauro fled and called 911 from his home, authorities said.

He and Alvarez are charged with aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person.

[Screengrab via Shaimere White]

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