Name released of man killed in police-involved shooting near Dorney Park

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Monday, July 30, 2018
Name released of man shot, killed by police near Dorney Park
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Name released of man shot, killed by police near Dorney Park. Watch the report from Walter Perez on Action News at 4 p.m. on July 30, 2018.

SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- Authorities have released the name of the man who was shot and killed by police near Dorney Park in South Whitehall Township.

The man has been identified as 44-year-old Joseph Santos of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey.

The shooting happened at 5:45 p.m. Saturday along the 3700 block of Hamilton Boulevard.

Witnesses say minutes before the shooting, Santos darted into traffic, jumping on cars, damaging some of them.

South Whitehall police officers responded to the scene and began talking to Santos.

Viewer video captured crucial moments in the investigation.

Santos can be seen in the video standing alongside a police cruiser. The video shows him walking away from the officer, and then walking back toward the officer.

An officer can be heard in the video, warning the man to get on the ground. Then, several shots are fired by the officer.

Defense attorney John Waldron says, on the surface, it seems the police officer was justified. But there are a number of variables that investigators have to consider after speaking with witnesses and analyzing the video.

"If their hands are in the air or their hands are not in their pockets and you can see he is not armed and he's not going to be pulling out a knife or a gun then it could be excessive force," Waldron said.

It remains unclear if Santos was carrying a weapon.

What Waldron says police officers are trained to pull out their weapon if they feel threatened, and if they open fire they are taught to aim for the middle of the chest.

"When you are going to shoot, you shoot to kill," Waldron said. "You are not going to shoot him in the knee cap for the foot. You are shooting to kill the person when you are going to use your weapon."

Pennsylvania State Police are leading the investigation at the request of the Lehigh County District Attorney.

The officer involved in the shooting has not been identified. We are told he has been placed on desk duty pending the outcome of the investigation, which is common protocol.


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