Police Officer Involved in Deadly Shooting in Hazleton

HAZLETON — State police and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office are investigating a deadly shooting in Hazleton.

It happened on the 500 block of Alter Street in Hazleton around 2:30 a.m.

Investigators said an unidentified police officer shot and killed Jonathan Kane Garay, 26, of Alter Street.

According to state police, Hazleton City Police officers responded to a call for a large fight on Alter Street when they found Garay running from the scene.

An officer said Garay had a gun, which fell to the ground during a struggle with police.

Police said Garay reached for it and pointed it in the direction of officers. An unidentified officer shot Garay.

Garay was pronounced dead at Hazleton General Hospital.

Some people who live in the city learned of the shooting and sided with police.

“You gotta make that choice and you only have a split second to make it,” said Craig Budde.

“That’s good that they’re doing an investigation. I’m sure that what he did, the action that he took was proper. From all the officers that we know, I don’t think none of the officers would go and just shoot someone just like that. I think they know their procedures and they know what they have to do and they are well trained,” said Vilmarie Budde.

40 comments

  • Joe Johnson

    I cannot wait till the facts come out about Jonathan…sure here he was involved as a Latin King…and he needed a gun because his business is open late?? What deli called Ma and Pops deli is open at 2:30 AM…I lived here all my life and never even heard of it…can you say drug front…

  • Joe Johnson

    You want to talk racism? How can’t the people in Hazleton look at one group of people with disgust? We didn’t have these problems 10 years ago before the “newcomers” came to town. I don’t know if you read the paper and see all the violent crime in it…ever notice 90% of it is not committed by someone who grew up here? Ever notice all the violent crime has and is being committed by Spanish people? It’s fact…I would shoot first also..how many shootings and beating have been commited by locals in the last 10 years…none that’s right. Do you blame the locals? How can you? When a white man was beat his family knew how to act…not walk the streets in protest wasting more tax dollars to pay police all this over time. The gangs in the area are not white gangs…you have no argument. The police acted justly…did these officers ever have to use there weapons before? No! I’m sure they just singled out this poor boy and I’m sure they opened fire in his mothers arms…Did Disney give you this story? It is about race…the race committing all the violent crime…

  • David

    Do you have any idea how silly it sounds when you comment on how hard working this guy was? What does work habits have to do with breaking the law? I am sure there are a lot of hard working men and women doing life.
    All it takes is one mistake and anyone of us can be on the other side of the law. It is unfortunate this guy lost his life without due process, however when you carry a firearm you must be aware of the responsibilities that go along with it. The most important thing to remember – You never point a gun at a target unless you want to destroy it!!!

  • JUSTICE FOR JHONATHAn

    To be honest non of you are even right about the situation so how about all of you just shut up and stop acting like you know what’s going on. This officer that no one knows of never identified himself as police prior to the shooting so right there is where it went wrong police thought they got lucky coming across a young Spanish male carrying a firearm but little did they know he had license to carry. You shot down a innocent man his own home infront of his mother the police know they did wrong why you think this story of him reaching for a gun came about. They already shot him beige he could have done anything. Shot him in the back and in his face and now you tell me if that’s justice for and occurred of the law to shoot someone in cold blood and yes HAZLETON POLICE are very so Crooked I personally believe they should all b investigated. The story they give us and the media doesn’t add up why you think they haven’t identified the shooting officer maybe because justice really wasn’t served . And then because he Spanish they Wunna pull the drugs and gang card like if there isn’t any hard working good Spanish people out there I’ve lost a family member I’ve lost a friend and most of all as a family we lost a part of us I love and miss him dearly and yes I believe the hazleton police aree trying to cover up for one of they own you don’t think the DA won’t side with them you don’t think the coroner will rule it as a homicide it’ll b just another shooting taken place like look at the chief of police that can’t even drive properly causing accidents with civilians and leaving them disabled and getting away with it like seriously there’s more going on then what they give us and trust me when I say it the end is near

    • MrsR

      I have had the blessing of friendship with jonathan for a few years now. He is a caring, funny, hard working man. He was in legal possession of a firearm because he has no criminal record. The truth will surface, as state police have already determined that the local police were incorrect with where the deadly shooting occurred… More discrepancies will follow and the ignorant public will finally see that this was a senseless, unnecessary tragedy that ripped a responsible, loving young man from this world. God bless his family and loved ones. JUSTICE FOR JONATHAN!

    • Diana Arce Garcia

      We’ll every time I leave a comment it gets erase ….hummmm no wonder why ,,I get it cause I said that he wasn’t a thug and that I have known this family for over 25 years and I have never ever known Jonathan to be rude or disrectspecful to anyone .. He is loving to his friends and family .I pray to god that justice be serve .and that god give them strength and peace and as for Jackie …honey you need to shut up cause you wasn’t there know the facts first before you open or write any comments and to the family you know I will always be there for u guys ,love you guys a lot and know that I will be praying for u …

  • Jordan

    I know the family as well I buy from their spot all the time and they good hard working people, especially Jonathan he will be missed..
    he made the best sandwiches and always have good conversation.

  • jasmine&kevin

    First off I have to say to all the people who don’t know what they saying, This young man works nights arm security and that’s why he was out and he works days at his family store, he is not a thug.. him and family work hard and own what they have, not rent like some of you that live off the state and want to judge. For the other saying officer is right keep watching the news (Surprise ) family has surveillance that police knew nothing about and it proves he was innocently killed in his home and not a porch and before you know it the family will get justice, his gun was never out hoister and officer had personal issue in past with family and abused the authority. So please people don’t judge or say nothing you know nothing about. Thank you!!!!!!

  • David

    Its simple. If you point a firearm at a police officer you will and should be shot!! They perform a dangerous job for the unforgiving public.

    • Danielle Ryan

      Wow really the officer is going to jail he was wrong Jonathan was a hard working boy with a father and family that loves him so much, the same chip that killed him had a prior case with another family member and the officer lost his car this was revenge of you don’t know what you are talking about, please don’t comment yes officers have a hard Bob and some are good people but there are some bad bad chips out there and a badge doesn’t give you the right to take a life your are not GOD

  • Asdjk

    Jackie , I would like to know how do you know so much about this? You’re saying let’s not be so judgmental but you’re being judgmental. Do you know what that is? A hypocrite. The story that the guy put on here is most likely true. As this article says the police said , Did they ask Garays family or mom who was right there when it happened , what happened? Or even witnesses? No so please stop commenting and let the family grieve peaceful instead of having a whole bunch of negative comments.

    • Jackie

      Yes, was the family there? It would surprise you of what I do know. Yes, maybe I am on the police officers side but as I said it has been blown up out of proportion and they won’t say anything until the investigation is done.

      • Jackie

        Were you there? I know I wasn’t but I do believe the officer was just doing his job and protecting himself. As I said there is a full investigation on this and we have to wait and see.

      • Danielle Ryan

        You are an ignorant person JACKIE didn’t you mom ever tell you when you have northern good to say than don’t say it at all, the family needs to hear good things right now, not stupidness urggg people like you need to find God

  • Jody McAndrew

    First of all let’s keep racism out of this cops are trained to not just fire upon a suspect without just cause or being threatened by a raised weapon.. If Garay was such a good family man, what the hell was he doing out at 2:30 in the morning with his gun.. when he should have been home in bed with his family… for all we know, he could be the man responsible for all the beatings and shootings that have gone unsolved in Hazleton over the course of the last 2 years… and in that case ALL DRUG RELATED!!!!!.

    • Rest in Peace

      He’s a 26 year old kid. He had every right to be out until 2:30 until the bar closes just like anyone else. Responsible for all the unsolved crimes in Hazelton, that’s a little ignorant. A mother lost her son, he was very close with his siblings and the rest of his family and a long time gfy. Have a little respect. So because he’s Spanish, has a gun, and was out late at night makes him involved in drugs? Who is stereotyping now? Let the family grieve in peace. To them he was a son, a brother, a lover, a cousin, a nephew, and a friend. The investigation will hopefully show the truth. Again my prayers to his family.

    • Danielle Ryan

      Little do you know, he was on his way home from working a late shift he is a security guard and licensed to carry is gun and the cop had precious problems with another guy in the family it will come out you wait this time a boy lost his life for nothing

    • Christina

      First of all whether he was outside at 2:30 am or 2:30 pm, it doesn’t matter. Johnathan was a grown man with a family and 2 jobs. So I think a little r&r wouldn’t hurt. You guys are you bent so saying that it wasn’t racism but that what it sure looks like to me and everyone else that has sense and a heart. I’m guessing that you must be a officer yourself which is why your defending them so damn much. Well guess what honey I do too and I still say that their wrong. The officer was wrong and that’s it. No if ands or buts. Anyway Rest Johnathan

  • Rest in Peace

    He wasn’t a criminal or a thug. He was a good guy. He was hardworking and took care of his family. He loved his family and friends very much. What was he doing out at 2:30 am? What most you kids having a good time are doing. Since when is it a crime to carry a weapon for protection ? I believe it was racist even though he is 100% American. We all need to realize at one time we were all immigrants. This was unjustified. He surrendered to their authority there was no need for multiple gun shotts. We need to realize those that love and miss him should not have to be subject to your nasty comments or opinions. I think people should stop commenting and give the family a break. Let them grieve privately and hold onto the wonderful memories they hold..God bless his loved ones. May he rest in peace.

    • Jackie

      As I said before, were you there. Did you see what happened? Probably not. Get your facts before being judgmental. There is probably stories going around that are not true. Wait till we get the facts, the true facts.

  • Jackie

    Get the true facts my friends before you blab your mouth out with lies yourself. One day you might need one of these officer, firefighters or medics and you’l have a different look on the situation.

  • Gary

    Glad that the Officer is OK. What was this guy doing out at 2:30 AM, carrying a firearm. If he was out drinking, he should not have had a weapon.

  • gafan

    Wow luckynkl, thats some fairy tale you got brewin’ there. How long did it take you to come up with that one? LOL

  • gafan

    Wow luckynkl, that’s one heck of a fairytale you got brewin’ there. How long did it take you to come up with that one? LOL

  • chet

    Why is it becoming the fault of law enforcement? Violent criminals running the county? We have to protect the safety of our police, they are our only defense from criminal element taking over NEPA.

    • Jackie

      I always wave at all officer, fire fighters and of course EMT’s Paramedics (which I work for) because one day we might need them.

  • jenn

    Unidentified officer???? Doesn’t surprise me!!! There is to the story than what the media and officers told!. It says the gun fell to the ground n dude reached for it and pointed it how’s that possible if it fell n he reached doesn’t say he grabbed it… Officer shot him n then ran in the house after him but that obviously was withheld from the public…. Regarded what the case may be that 26 should not have been killed now a mother has to bury her son so sickening! This world is cruel and people are so heartless may he rest in peace

  • Jackie

    If Garay would have given up instead of running and then threaten an officer he wouldn’t have died, I feel it was justified.

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