Gunman broadcast Bethlehem shooting confession on Facebook Live, police say

A Lehigh Valley man’s seemingly erroneous Facebook Live broadcast recorded him holding a gun as he confessed to shooting a former girlfriend, and the recording was still viewable hours after his arrest.

Joseph Shankweiler Jr., 39, of Northampton, faces two criminal cases related to Sunday’s events: attempted homicide and related charges in Northampton County stemming from the Bethlehem shooting of the woman, and a second case of 17 charges in Lehigh County after he allegedly led soldiers in a pursuit before his arrest.

Shankweiler had been held without bond since Monday afternoon in the Lehigh County jail in the Lehigh County case, but had not yet been arraigned in the Northampton County case.

District Judge Rashid Santiago denied bail due to the allegations against Shankweiler and concerns for the safety of the victim and the community, court records show.

Police were called at 1:18 p.m. by a witness reporting a burglary with gunfire on Main Street and saw a man running from the house, Bethlehem Police said.

The victim heard glass shattering and saw Shankweiler break into her home, before raising a gun and shooting her, police said. The woman said she felt a “hot breath” and the sensation of wind blowing near her left eye and ear, police said.

A warrant has been issued for Shankweiler for charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, prohibited possession of a firearm, burglary, possession of an instrument of a crime and endangerment reckless.

In the Facebook Live broadcast of Joe Shankweiler Jr.’s Facebook page, viewers initially do not see his face.

The 54-second video begins with a man exiting a vehicle with a gun drawn, then he begins talking to another man.

“So I’ll just tell you right now, I went over here and (expletive) shot her,” the man said, before repeating it. “I’ve been so (expletive) disrespectful.”

Bethlehem Police confirmed that Shankweiler’s video showed him holding a black pistol and saying those exact words.

The man tells Shankweiler that the victim will call the police.

“It’s okay, she can do that, she’s built like that. I am going out. I’m doing well. I have what I need,” says Shankweiler. “It’s family here. It’s all the family I need.

As Shankweiler climbs back into the red vehicle, a boy can be seen in the car. Pennsylvania State Police said there were reports that Shankweiler kidnapped a 9-year-old child, but Bethlehem Police said they were not investigating any kidnapping-related charges and that they believed that the information underlying this accusation was unfounded.

Shankweiler faces a felony charge of child endangerment in his Lehigh County case.

The viewer then briefly sees Shankweiler’s face as he begins to drive, before the camera faces the fabric as Shankweiler drives.

At approximately 2:25 p.m. Sunday, Pennsylvania State Police at Fogelsville Barracks were notified that Shankweiler had been tracked to Hamilton Boulevard in Lower Macungie Township. Troopers spotted the red Honda near Hamilton Boulevard and Continental Way, but the car drove away, state police said.

Eventually, Shankweiler pulled over and was taken into custody, the soldiers said.

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Sarah Cassi can be reached at [email protected].