DA: Officer justified in parking lot shooting of armed man

November 3, 2021 GMT

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — An eastern Pennsylvania prosecutor says a police officer was justified in shooting and critically wounding a man who repeatedly fired a handgun outside a strip mall earlier this year.

Allentown police said the officer was on routine patrol in the American Plaza Shopping Center parking lot early June 12 when he heard shots among a crowd of people and saw a 22-year-old man “repeatedly firing a handgun.” Police said the man refused to drop the weapon and the officer fired four shots, hitting the man at least twice.

Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said Wednesday it was “abundantly clear” that the officer’s actions were justified due to a reasonable belief that deadly force was needed to prevent death or serious injury to himself or others.

Martin said it was unfortunate that the man was wounded but he has recovered and is “lucky not to have lost his life as a result of his conduct.”

Police said the man had a .9mm “ghost gun” with an extended magazine. Such guns can be assembled from firearm kits and don’t have serial numbers or other identifying information. He faces charges of aggravated and simple assault, reckless endangerment and a firearms count, police said.