Man Shot by Allentown Police Had Replica Gun, Police Say

Allentown police car

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

Emmanuel Celestino-Mendez, 31, of Allentown, is charged with aggravated assault against a police officer and simple assault. He remained hospitalized Monday in critical condition but was expected to survive, authorities said.

The shooting occurred shortly before 3 a.m. Sunday. Police responding to reports of a fight and shots fired found a large number of people brawling and one person on the ground near a trail of blood.

Celestino-Mendez was seen holding a weapon and he refused officers'orders to drop the weapon, authorities said. He soon fled to a porch and "still brandishing the handgun, rapidly turned toward" and officer, who opened fire. The officer was not injured.

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.

It wasn't known Monday if Celestino-Mendez has retained an attorney.

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