D.A.: Shooting By Police in Hazleton Justified

HAZLETON — A shooting by police earlier this month in Hazleton was justified, according to the Luzerne County district attorney.

The D.A. released her report Wednesday afternoon.

A Hazleton police officer shot Jonathan Garay, 26, at his home on Alter Street on October 5.

“There was a weapon pointed at an officer and the officer responded adequately and appropriately,” said District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.

Investigators said Garay had four times the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he refused police orders to stop and pointed a loaded weapon at officers.

Garay was shot in the cheek and in the back.

At his home on Alter Street, a memorial has been set up, with a message to the district attorney asking, in part, how she sleeps at night and including the words, “Justice will prevail.”

The Garay family did not want to speak about the report. A spokesman asked reporters to respect the family`s privacy.

“Right now emotions are high, it is always terrible to lose a loved one,” said Salavantis.

The Garay family claimed to have videos proving the police officer pulled the trigger without a good reason, but state police say that is not so.

Last week, family and friends rallied in front of Hazleton City Hall, calling for justice for Jonathan.

The D.A. said there have been threats and rumors of riots since the shooting.

She urged everyone to remain calm and trust the police.

“We all need to stick together as a community, and know that the officers are trying to do their job,” said Salavantis.

She did not include the name of the police officer in her report, citing that threats were made to him.

16 comments

  • Antonio

    You know I feel bad for the deceased and the family, BUT you don’t wave a gun in front of an officer, not even a black toy gun or your likely going to get shot ! The Police Officer could be a Father, Brother, and is someones Son, it takes 1 spit second for someone drunk or drugged to recklessly squeeze a trigger and kill a police officer. Cops are not God, nor can they predict if someone out of their mind from substances or alcohol is actually going to pull the trigger. If I was a Cop I would not want to wait till I am killed because I thought someone drunk or drugged has common sense.

    I am sorry, but this guy should of DROPPED the weapon. I have been pulled over on Highway in the past for going to fast, and reached quickly for the glove box, to get my license and registration and it made the officer jump back and get ready to draw his weapon, can I blame him ? NO ! He doesn’t know if I am gonna pull a .44 Magnum out and shoot him ! So my Advice when any of you are pulled over ? Tell the Officer politely your reaching in the glove box for license and registration, insurance card, and do it very slowly, and all will hopefully be well.

    I have sen the Cop shows on TV where an Officer pulls someone over walks up to the window and POW ! Someone shoots the Officer, these Officers do not have a safe Job, so when you are told to DROP IT ! You had better damn well drop it or your most likely going down for good ! Now if a Cop shoots someone with no weapon that is another story, but if a Gun is involved, the guy waiving the gun is most likely going to get shot through his own fault if he does not comply with orders to drop it !

  • Matt

    Typical WNEP bad reporting to stir the pot. The DA said at the live press release that he was shot in the flank. The flank is your side it is completly possible to be sideways and point a gun at a cop. So it is a good shoot.

  • cody

    Nobody truly knows if he had pointed the gun at the officer. Did he cock the gun? No the officer made a judgment on his appearance and made a poor assumption and deserves to pay his crime. He is not above the law like most of them believe they are.

  • cody

    This is a case of murder not justice. And some of the comments on here are uncalled for this is not a judgement of anybody’s character. Typical police shoot first ask questions later. Someone who is 4x the legal limit and shoot in the face is harmless at that point. So let’s shoot him in the back like a coward so he can’t sue and send the officer to rot in a prison cell like he deserves.

  • fb

    4x the legal alcohol limit applies if you are on a public sidewalk or driving in public. The man was shot inside of a home, not in public. Sawing he was 4x over the limit is misleading at best.

    • Betty

      Exactly. Thanks Chet. Maybe police should start marching, rioting and protesting everytime one of these thugs takes out an officer! The only difference here is the officer survived and won! Chalk one up for the GOOD!

  • Cindy

    This is a bad situation for everyone. I’m sure the police officer takes no joy in having to kill someone. The ones who loved this man, are obviously upset, but whenever a gun comes into play, officers shoot.
    If there is something to prove otherwise, then justice will be done in the end. If not, we all need to calm down like the D.A. said and carry on as individuals and as a community.

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