Officials: Man shot, wounded by Allentown police officer had replica gun

A man shot and wounded by police in Allentown was armed with a replica handgun that was made to look like a .45-caliber handgun, authorities said.

The incident occurred just before 3 a.m. on the 100 block of South Madison Street.

Police said the department responded to multiple reports of a disorderly group and large fight where gunshots were fired.

The first responding officer reportedly observed a group of people in the road engaged in an altercation, as well as an individual on the ground amid a trail of blood. The officer also reportedly observed 31-year-old Emmanuel Celestino-Mendez brandishing a weapon.

The officer instructed Celestino-Mendez to drop his weapon, according to police, but he failed to comply with the officer's commands. Celestino-Mendez then allegedly fled onto a nearby porch, where he rapidly turned toward the officer. At that point, the officer discharged his firearm and struck Celestino-Mendez.

Officers and EMS workers rendered first aid to Celestino-Mendez, who was hospitalized in stable condition. He is expected to survive his injuries.

Celestino-Mendez was charged with aggravated assault against a police officer and simple assault.

The weapon Celestino-Mendez was holding was recovered at the scene, authorities said, noting that it was an airsoft BB gun made to look like a .45-caliber Ruger handgun. They declined to identify the officer who shot Celestino-Mendez or provide further details on the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.

An investigation into the shooting is being conducted by Lehigh County detectives in conjunction with Allentown police, and will be reviewed by the district attorney.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.