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More questions arise in Allentown police shooting of machete-wielding man

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 22 2013 09:48:33 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 23 2013 06:02:11 AM CST

Neighbors say machete weilding man may have had problems

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

The Lehigh County coroner has identified the man who was shot and killed Thursday by Allentown police while wielding a machete.

The man is 44-year-old Saturnino Perez de la Rosa of Allentown.

The cause and manner of death of de la Rosa is still under investigation, however the District Attorney's office and neighbors say he may have had mental health issues.

"He seemed like he had problems, maybe mental problems I don't know" said neighbor Reinaldo Torres.

Jim Martin, District Attorney for Lehigh County said police had received calls on Wednesday concerning a man who was acting strangely in the area of 12th and Hamilton Streets, that man turned out to be de la Rosa

"He appeared to have had mental health issues, they were concerned about him, they were attempting to get his wife slash girlfriend get him some treatment but he hadn't committed any illegal act" said Martin.

According to attorney David Vaida there's little people can do to help those who may be mentally ill.

"You have to be clinically determined to be a threat to yourself or to others before you can be involuntarily committed" said Vaida.

Thursday, police encountered de la Rosa again while he was wielding a machete.

Officials say it took officers several attempts with tasers and finally gunshots to subdue him.

If he was mentally ill, Vaida says something needs to be done.

"Some change in legislation that would allow people to go that person and make them submit to some kind of diagnosis.....The problem is people that you can tell are disturbed, they're not committing a crime but the family can't get them to a doctor because they refuse to go" he said.