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Family of man fatally shot by Hazleton police demands answers

Published On: Dec 24 2013 10:03:51 AM EST   Updated On: Oct 06 2013 07:30:07 AM EDT

Hazleton Police say they shot and killed a man after he tried to point a gun at them.


Hazleton Police shot and killed a man after he allegedly tried to point a gun at them. Now, State Police are investigating what happened, and the man's family is demanding answers.

"They shot him in his back and then in his head," said the man's cousin, who did not want to give his name. "What kind of [expletive] police force is that?"

The shooting happened early Saturday morning on Alter Street. Officers said they started chasing 26 year-old Jonathan Garay after getting called to a large fight around 2:30 a.m.


According to State Police, a bystander told officers that a man fled the scene with a handgun. Cops said Garay ran into his own backyard at 521 Alter Street. When they grabbed him, officers claim Garay dropped a silver and black handgun. They said Garay then dove for the gun and tried to raise the weapon toward two officers.

That's when they shot Garay several times.

State Police aren't identifying the officers who shot Garay yet. Garay does not have any violent criminal history in Luzerne or surrounding counties, according to online court records.

Garay's cousin is angry.

"What kind of police walk into your house without a warrant and just start shooting people?", he asked.

Neighbors claim Hazleton continues to get more dangerous.

"It's been a lot of change. A lot, from the drugs to the crime," said neighbor Rafael Rodriguez. "It's just -- it's growing too fast for me, so I have to just get out, because I feel like it's just going to get worse. I don't see this place getting any better."

Mike Fulten of Weatherly added: "It's really horrible. Every day, I come through here every day and just don't know what you're going to expect. It's not like it used to be. Shootings, rapes, stabbings -- out of control."

The Luzerne County District Attorney will make the ultimate determination about whether the officers involved acted appropriately.