Family Speaks Out About Deadly Shooting in Hazleton

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HAZLETON -- The big question in Hazleton Monday: was a police officer justified using deadly force over the weekend? Officers say the person who was killed reached for his gun. But his family told us today he didn't.

Cell phone video is just some of what the Garay family calls proof that an on-duty Hazleton police officer shot and killed 26-year-old Jonathan Garay unjustly. Garay's sister Veronica was at the house on Alter Street where the shooting happened early Saturday morning.

"It wasn't justified. They should be charged as anybody else that would murder somebody because he murdered my brother, and he took a part of us away from us that we can't get back," said Veronica Garay, the sister of the shooting victim.

The district attorney's office says police came to the house when a fight broke out nearby. The officer saw Garay was carrying a gun and grabbed him. According to authorities, the gun fell on the back porch of the house, and Garay grabbed it and tried to raise it toward officers. That's when police shot him.

But Garay's sister says that's not what happened.

"He took the gun off my brother's holster and threw it. My brother never had the gun in his hands. This man murdered my brother," said Veronica Garay.

Police shot Garay multiple times. His sister says it happened inside the house, not on the porch. She says the officer had a vengeance against the family because of a previous incident.

Hazleton City Councilman Jack Mundie says the police wouldn't hold a grudge like that.

""We have a great police force. They do a great job. They're trying to keep our city safe," said Hazleton City Councilman Jack Mundie.

Garay's family has hired an attorney to get the justice they say they deserve.

"I need the community to help us because if we don't put a stop to it, someone else. This is going to happen to someone else."


  • sherry montijo

    It a shame. How a cop can shoot and kill a person and everyone thinks he’s a hero. Cop are surpose to make sure before the kill someone and make no mistates. I am from meriden ct. And been coming to hazelton for year. And the cops are alway in the news. There is a lot of prejudice here. They better start thinking with there head and not there feet or you are going to have much more problems.

  • Writer Girl

    When there’s a disturbance, like a fight, and there is someone with a gun, police don’t take chances. Maybe the officer was disarming this man because they thought he was the culprit. The fact that there was a “previous incident,” probably didn’t help matters.

  • Rock

    Just because you saw the last episode of CIS Vegas, doesn’t make you an investigator. You are thinking with your hearts and not your heads. Stop being an amateur detectives. Wait for the facts and go from there

  • Missy

    Was anyone shot at this nearby fight!? What was the probable cause to enter his home because of a fight the authorities didn’t say he had anything to do with

  • Missy

    A fight broke out nearby so they grabbed the first minority they saw who clearly was not outside on the porch since there’s blood inside the home and if he was shot multiple times they shot him to kill him not to injure him so no one else would get hurt . We all know in hazleton majority of Caucasians are not accepting to other races as I have experienced this predijuce myself since I lived here.

    • Writer Girl

      That’s a broad statement to make. Perhaps your own racism is showing. People with guns are a threat to policemen and they act accordingly. Let the facts come out in the investigation and don’t make this about race, when there were clearly factors (fight, gun) to show something was going on.

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