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Allentown family wants to know how mentally ill Peter Jourdan was still on streets

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:18:38 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 07 2013 04:16:37 PM CST

Family speaks out

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

An Allentown man shot to death after allegedly attacking two New York City cops was mentally ill, according to his family. Now they are trying to figure out why he was on the streets and who sold him the gun he possessed.

The chaos outside the N train in Brooklyn Thursday night was a long way from the days of Peter Jourdan's youth.

"I'm devastated," said his cousin, Angelo Laro Maldonado. "We basically grew up like brothers."

Jourdan, 37, was killed after shooting two plain clothes NYPD cops with a 9mm handgun, according to police. Officers were trying to question Jourdan after he illegally walked between two moving subway cars.

Jourdan's Allentown relatives say he suffered from years of paranoia.

"He had the schizophrenia and he had a sickness," said his uncle, Jose Cabrera.

Maldonado said his cousin became troubled in his late teenage years.

"One point, he started changing and things started shifting," Maldonado said. "He was a paranoid schizophrenic, so basically he felt like there was always someone out to get him.'

According to Maldonado and other relatives, Jourdan was in and out of mental facilities -- both in New York and Los Angeles.

"There were times when we would walk in the middle of the street. he'd just stop someone and just knock them out or something, and just take their money," Maldonado said.

Jourdan's family is now investigating how he got the gun he used, and whether he was able to buy it legally. They've also hired an attorney to investigate the actions of the officers--officers hailed as heroes by New York's mayor.

"They made him look like the bad guy," said Cabrera. "Bloomberg made them look like the heroes back there, and that's not right."

Maldonado said his family had warned mental facilities for years to keep Jourdan institutionalized.

"You threw him out there. You said he was ok," said Maldonado. "Every time we would call up these facilities and say, 'Look, he can't handle it outside,' they kept saying, 'We can't do anything about it. He's fine.'"

Jourdan's funeral is scheduled for Friday in Brooklyn, N.Y. The two officers he shot are both out of the hospital and recovering.