The incident unfolded at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
Police say two officers responded to a report of a man carrying a machete. The man was walking northbound on 12th Street near Linden Street.
They confronted the man a short distance later. One of the officers opened fire at North Howard and Oak Streets, hitting the man.
Medics rushed him to Lehigh Valley Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 2:10 p.m.
Neither officer was injured.
An autopsy is scheduled for Friday morning to determine the exact cause of death.
The name of the victim has not been released.