☑️ James Hilton of Southampton was helping another trucker at a Pa. truck stop

☑️ A witness told police she heard the suspect tell Hilton "I'll kill you" several times

☑️ The gunman made his escape on Route 78 in a truck with a trailer

A New Jersey man who is the father of a one-year-old son was shot to death at a Pennsylvania truck stop as he helped another trucker early Friday morning.

Pennsylvania State Police said James Hilton, 40, of Southampton stopped at the Love's Travel Spot just off Exit 23 of Route 78 in Upper Bern Township, Pa. around 2:50 a.m. and assisted another trucker park in the lot. Hilton got into an argument with another trucker who shot him and drove off in a truck with a trailer.

The trucker, identified as Travis Pugh of Jacksonville, Florida was located around 3 a.m. on Route 78 in Lehigh Valley with his truck by a state trooper and taken into custody, police said.

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Map shows location of truck stop off Route 78, Exit 45 and Southampton, NJ
Map shows location of truck stop off Route 78, Exit 45 and Southampton, NJ (Canva)

"I'll kill you"

The criminal complaint in the case obtained by New Jersey 101.5 does not disclose specifically what prompted the shooting.

A trucker who was sleeping in her truck heard someone yell "I'll kill you" five or six times. She looked out the window and saw Pugh pointing a gun at Hilton, according to the affidavit.

The driver being assisted by Hilton was still on the phone with him when he overheard Hilton and Pugh speak. According to the complaint, the driver said Pugh became "verbally aggressive" with Hilton and heard a "pop." Hilton did not respond to the driver at that point.

The driver said he saw two dogs in Pugh's truck.

A search of his truck by troopers turned up a Phalanx handgun holster and a round from a Blazer 9mm Luger FMJ in the truck. Officials in both Florida and Pennsylvania said Pugh is not licensed to carry in either state, according to the complaint.

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James Hilton and Poonyawee "Polly" Hilton
James Hilton and Poonyawee "Polly" Hilton (Mayura Parnes via GoFundMe)

Married since 2021

Pugh is charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, possession of a firearm without a permit, aggravated assault, simple assault, two counts of recklessly endangering another person, tampering with evidence, disorderly conduct and harrassment. He is being held without bail at the Berks County Jail, according to court records.

"James Alexander Hilton, husband of Poonyawee and father of baby JJ was viscously shot and murdered during his trucking shift in Pennsylvania while doing what James always did. Helping others," Mayura Parnes wrote on a GoFundMe page.

According to the page, his wife came to the U.S. from Thailand to marry Hilton.

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