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Man Sentenced to Prison for Racist, Violent Rant at Bensalem Store

September 3, 2017

Contact: Jovin Jose, 215.348.6589, jjose@buckscounty.org

David Sangmeister
   David Sangmeister

A man whose ethnic and racial slurs at a Bensalem 7-Eleven store escalated into violent attacks in which he brandished an assault rifle and tried to run down a witness with his truck was sentenced Thursday to serve nine to 23 months in prison.

David A. Sangmeister, 41, of the 3200 block of Douglas Turn in Bensalem, had pleaded guilty on June 19 in Bucks County Common Pleas Court to aggravated assault, possession of an instrument of crime and endangering the welfare of children.

His sentencing came more than a year after Sangmeister assaulted a female customer at a 7-Eleven store in the 5400 block of Neshaminy Boulevard and used his truck to chase a fleeing bystander who had tried to intervene.

Sangmeister had his son, 10, and his daughter, 12, with him when the incident occurred. His actions frightened the young boy so much that he got out of the truck and hid inside the store. The child remained there with bystanders until after his father had fled in the truck with his sister and police arrived.

“Sorry is an understatement. My actions were unacceptable,” Sangmeister told Judge Rea B. Boylan. “I stand here shaking in front of you, embarrassed about that evening.”

Witnesses told police that Sangmeister, who is white, was in line at the store on Aug. 6, 2016, when he started crying. A black woman in front of him asked what was wrong and, when Sangmeister told her his mother had recently died, the woman consoled him and gave him a hug, a probable cause affidavit states.

Sangmeister then inexplicably began cursing the store clerk, an Indian man, yelling obscenities and calling the man a “terrorist,” the affidavit says. When the black woman tried to intervene, he called her a racial slur and slapped her cell phone out of her hand when she tried to record his actions.

The woman retaliated by hitting Sangmeister and following him out of the store, defense attorney Gerald Stein said.

Outside, the affidavit says, Sangmeister pushed the woman down, grabbed her head and banged it into the brick wall of the store. When a young man tried to stop him, Sangmeister chased him across the grass with his truck, according to the affidavit.

At some point during the incident, witnesses said, Sangmeister’s truck jumped a curb, stopping just short of the injured woman, and he took an assault-style rifle out of his truck, racking it to chamber a round.

“It is the racking of the gun, and the truck going up on the curb, that concerns me the most,” Boylan said. “His response outside is criminal and excessive.”

While the fracas inside the store “involved mutual aggression,” Boylan said, Sangmeister escalated matters with “an over-the-top response” outside.

“Nobody died. Nobody was seriously injured,” the judge told Sangmeister. “But all of the people who were there were terrified, and their lives will never be the same.”

Stein said the crimes were “aberrational and not likely to occur again,” and asked Boylan to impose a sentence of probation. He said Sangmeister had no significant criminal history, was a steady worker, had volunteered as a firefighter and raised money for a children’s charity, and had stopped drinking after his arrest.

The judge said she did not think probation was appropriate for Sangmeister’s crimes. “It is clear to me,” Boylan told Stein, “that there is a moment when this becomes something for which your client must be held criminally responsible.”

The case was investigated by the Bensalem Township Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jovin Jose.

Approved for release by Gregg D. Shore, First Assistant District Attorney.


Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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