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Hazleton man faces attempted murder charge

Published July 13. 2019 05:37AM

A Hazleton man faces an attempted murder charge after an incident that occurred on July 7.

Francis Toca, 38, of Hazleton, is being charged by McAdoo Police with third-degree attempted murder, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon, recklessly endangering another person and assault.

Police were dispatched to West Blaine Street for a gunshot victim at 5:19 a.m. and found the victim lying on a garage floor, saying that he was shot. The victim later said he had been in West Hazleton when he called Latino Taxi Service to get back to McAdoo.

After arriving in McAdoo, the victim’s credit card would not go through to pay for the ride. The victim said that a verbal argument escalated to the driver shooting him.

After an investigation of the area, police recovered a 9 mm shell casing and a holster for a semi-automatic pistol. Video showed the taxi parking on West Blaine Street at 4:20 a.m., and two passengers, one being the victim, exiting the taxi. The video surveillance continued to show the ensuing conflict and victim being shot.

Police went to Latino Taxi Service on July 8 and discovered that the driver of the taxi was Toca.

Later that day, police received a call from Toca’s wife. She stated that the victim and other passenger argued with Toca and would not pay, and that both passengers allegedly put on masks and put their hands in their pockets as if they had firearms. Toca got out of the vehicle and the passengers ran away.

Toca came to the McAdoo Police Department on July 8 and was taken into custody. He was arraigned before Judge David A. Placko and sent to Schuylkill County Prison on $250,000 straight cash bail. Toca’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 16.

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