Pennsylvania cop fatally shoots unarmed Hispanic man for damaging "several vehicles while walking barefoot down the freeway"
Authorities have released the name of the man who was shot and killed by police near Dorney Park in South Whitehall Township.
A Pennsylvania police officer shot and killed an unarmed Hispanic New Jersey man after he leaned against a patrol SUV on Saturday.
44-year-old Joseph Santos rapped on the police vehicle's window, walked away, turned around, and started walking back towards the patrol unit near Dorney Park in Allentown when the South Whitehall Township police officer shot him.
According to law enforcement, they were called out to the scene after reports of a man walking barefoot down the freeway and jumping on cars unprovoked.
Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said there were also reports that the wanderer was acting "bizarrely" and had allegedly ripped out the window of an unoccupied car.
In a conversation with Daily Mail, District Attorney Martin said that after the shooting, additional South Whitehall Police Department officers responded to the scene.
Martin further informed that until the criminal investigation related to the shooting is completed, the identity of the officer involved in the shooting will not be made public.
According to a Lehigh County Coroner's Office spokesperson, Santos' autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow. Once that is completed, the coroner will decide whether to release his cause of death before or after results of a standard toxicology test come in.
As of now, the District Attorney is working with the Pennsylvania State Police Department on the investigation related to the events that transpired around the shooting.
Until the results of an internal investigation are released, the officer involved in the encounter has been placed on paid leave. The said investigation, following standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting, will be conducted by the South Whitehall Police Department.
In the footage posted on Facebook by an eyewitness, Santos is seen leaning against the police vehicle of the first team that responded to the scene. He can also be heard banging on the window of the vehicle.
At one point in the video, Santos, who hails from Hasbrouck Heights, walks away from the cruiser before turning around and heading back towards it.
Officers are then heard shouting, instructing him to "get on the ground" before opening fire. Santos immediately crumples to the ground as the shots are fired.
Five gunshots are heard in the footage before the Hispanic man falls to the ground.
He is immediately rushed to Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest Hospital where he's pronounced dead upon arrival, according to reports.
Multiple calls came into the Lehigh County 911 Center reporting a man who was vandalizing cars when an officer "unfortunately" had to use his firearm and shoot him, according to Martin.
Deputies from South Whitehall Township were the first to respond to the scene.
According to the Morning Call, a witness said that Santos was hanging on the side of a police patrol vehicle and started banging on its sides once it pulled over.
"It's very early in the investigation, the officers did respond for somebody in the area," said South Whitehall Township Police Chief Glen Dorney.
"They investigated, encountered, and the incident unfolded from there... We'll be speaking to everybody involved and looking for witnesses."
Martin told reporters that Santos had been on a rampage on US Route 22 on Saturday and "at least on one occasion he ripped a window out of a vehicle," according to Daily Mail.
In a conversation with Lehigh Valley Live, Martin said: "The guy was behaving, what I would characterize as, bizarrely."