Officer was justified in fatal shooting of knife-wielding man in Muhlenberg Township: DA

MUHLENBERG TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- An investigation has determined a Muhlenberg Township, Pennsylvania police officer was justified in the fatal shooting of a knife-wielding man last month.

It happened March 15 around 2:15 p.m. at a home on the 700 block of Wagon Wheel Lane in Muhlenberg Township.

Officers were dispatched to the scene after a woman called 911 about her uncle, 62-year-old Stephen James Hughes, who was allegedly threatening her with knife.

When officers arrived to the home the woman said Hughes locked himself inside the second-floor bedroom with a knife. After gaining entry into the room, authorities say the man brandished a knife and failed verbal commands to drop the weapon.

According to the Berks County District Attorney's Office, one officer deployed a Taser, but it was unsuccessful in subduing Hughes. A second officer then shot the man in the chest one time.

Hughes was transported to an area hospital where he died.

An autopsy determined that he died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.

No police officers were injured.

Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams released this statement on the justified shooting:

"District Attorney John T. Adams concludes that the officer was reasonable in his belief that he and the other officer were in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury due to Hughes' actions of refusing to comply with all police commands and by advancing towards the officers with a knife. It is also reasonable to believe that Hughes had the intent and means to inflict death or serious bodily injury to the officers and the officer's use of deadly force under these circumstances was reasonable and therefore privileged under Pennsylvania law. While it is unfortunate that a life was lost, the action taken by the officer involved was for protecting himself and his fellow officer."
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