August 19, 2018

5 dead in 1 week: Mapping the Lehigh Valley's recent shootings and stabbings

South Whitehall police fatally shoot a man reportedly acting bizarrely outside Dorney Park.

Where it happened: At 5:44 p.m. outside 3712 Hamilton Blvd. (Route 222), near Dorney Park.

The victim: Joseph “Joey” Santos, 44, of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey.

The suspect: A South Whitehall Township police officer, who has not yet been publicly identified but is on leave as the investigation continues.

What we know so far: Santos, his fiancé and her son went to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom to celebrate the son’s 18th birthday. At the end of the day, the headed back to the waterpark lockers, and Santos went missing for hours.

The were several calls to Lehigh County 911 about a man interfering with traffic and reportedly jumping on cars. In a video posted on Facebook, Santos approaches the police car, then backs away. The officer yells repeatedly for Santos to get on the ground but Santos is seen walking casually up to the officer, who has parked by the side of the road. The officer, who continues to yell at Santos to get on the ground, fires five shots and Santos drops forward to the ground. Soon after he’s shot, a second officer begins CPR. An ambulance arrives a few minutes later and he is rushed to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Salisbury Township. Santos was pronounced dead at 6:08 p.m.

No weapons are seen on Santos in the video. Witnesses also said Santos wasn’t armed.

A vigil and protest against police brutality are planned Wednesday afternoon, when a South Whitehall official is also expected to call for DA Jim Martin to turn the case over to the state Attorney General over comments Martin made to The Morning Call in which he said the officer “had to” use his weapon. Critics say the comment could show bias in the ongoing investigation.

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