Man Who Shot Police Drone, Charged with Drug and Gun Offenses, Sentenced to 11 Years in State Prison
A Middletown Township man was sentenced on Friday, June 30, 2023, to 11 to 22 years in state prison on several drug and gun violations, including shooting at a police drone during an arrest attempt last summer.
John Palaio Jr., 51, of Pleasant Avenue in Middletown,hn was found guilty of 19 charges, including seven felonies, by Common Pleas Judge Charissa J. Liller during a waiver trial in May. Palaio was convicted on several counts of prohibited possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, making repairs to or selling offensive weapons, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, fleeing or attempting to elude police, possession of an instrument of crime, criminal use of a communication facility, and criminal mischief.
Middletown Township Police attempted to serve an arrest warrant at his home on drug and weapons charges on July 6, 2022. Police received information that Palaio was at his home and used a police drone to confirm that he was on the property.
While flying the drone, a Middletown officer heard it being shot and lost connection with it. The officer recovered the damaged drone.
A short time later, Palaio was observed riding away on a motorcycle. Middletown police activated their lights and sirens and followed Palaio, and he failed to stop.
Palaio then fled into his garage. Fearing Palaio would arm himself, police established a perimeter.
Police ordered Palaio to come out and advised him that they have a warrant for his arrest, but he never responded.
Palaio was then seen by officers on the train tracks, fleeing on foot. Police lost sight of Palaio, but he was arrested days later by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Police served a search warrant on the garage and located several pellet guns, brass knuckles, paraphernalia for packaging and ingesting methamphetamine. Police also recovered a revolver from the red toolbox in the garage.
During a June 2022 investigation at his home, police located 200 grams of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia inside Palaio’s garage, along with two firearms.
One of the guns had an obliterated serial number. Palaio was also charged with fleeing Middletown police in January 2022.
This case was investigated by the Middletown Township Police Department, with assistance from Bucks County Detectives, and the U.S. Marshals Service. This case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Thomas C. Gannon.