Northampton Press

Friday, December 13, 2019

DA rules police shooting of Coplay man is justified

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 by MARK RECCEK Special to The Press in Police Log

Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin ruled July 7 the shooting of a man May 21 by four Allentown City Police Department Officers was “entirely justified.”

The officer-involved shooting of Joseph M. Hodgin, of Coplay, North Whitehall, occurred near North 19th and Green streets, Allentown, resulting in Hodgin’s death.

According to a July 7 report released by Martin, the officers’ use of deadly force was justified on the basis of a reasonable belief Hodgin posed an imminent risk to the officers and others.

“Mr. Hodgin had committed a forcible felony and was attempting to escape while possessing a deadly weapon,” the report said. “Furthermore, he had clearly demonstrated that he had, and would continue to endanger human life or inflict serious bodily injury unless he was arrested without delay.”

The report further said Hodgin’s “failure to stop and his dangerous actions while being pursued by police officers and further failing to comply with commands to show his hands and surrender, brought about his own demise.”

As previously reported by The Press, a robbery at Whitehall Pharmacy, 4117 Main St., Egypt, occurred in the early morning May 21. The pharmacy owner was shot by Hodgin.

According to a May news release from Allentown Police Department, Hodgin fled the scene of the robbery toward Allentown in a white pickup truck. Allentown police were notified, located the pickup truck at 10th and Chew streets and attempted to stop the vehicle.

Officers called for police backup, the report stated.

As the pickup fled the scene, it struck two Allentown police vehicles and was ultimately stopped at 19th and Green streets.

When police attempted to apprehend Hodgin, he allegedly pointed his gun at the officers, the report said.

Allentown police officers then fired at Hodgin. He died at Lehigh Valley Hospital — Cedar Crest, Salisbury Township.

One officer sustained minor injuries when his vehicle was struck by Hodgin’s pickup truck.