DOYLESTOWN, Pa. – District Attorney Matt Weintraub ruled that the fatal shooting of a knife-wielding man on Aug. 29, 2021, by a Falls Township police officer was justified.
In a letter to Falls Township Police Chief Nelson Whitney, Weintraub wrote, “I have concluded that [the officers] were reasonable in their individual beliefs that both of their lives were placed in clear and present danger by Mr. Jorge Perez at the time that [the officer] shot him."
Weintraub continued, "I therefore conclude that [the officer] was justified in discharging his weapon and shooting Jorge Perez, who died from his gunshot wound."
Jorge Alberto Perez, 48, of Yardley, was fatally shot on Aug. 29, 2021, in a confrontation with police inside a home at 417 Federal Lane in Falls Township.
One of the officers, a trained paramedic, immediately began to render life-saving aid to Perez and Levittown Fairless Hills EMS arrived shortly after and took over. After consulting with the on-call doctor at St. Mary Medical Center, Perez was pronounced deceased.
An autopsy showed Perez had been shot once and died from a gunshot wound to the chest.
Whenever deadly force is used by law enforcement officers in Bucks County, it is standard procedure for the district attorney to investigate to determine whether the use of deadly force was justified.
Weintraub assigned the Bucks County Detectives to investigate after the shooting occurred and relied on their findings and other evidence in reaching his conclusions, his statement said.
Because neither officer is being charged, their names are not being released, per the district attorney's office protocol.
"I've spoken to Mr. Perez's family to explain my decision," Weintraub said. "I'm heartbroken for them. I am also saddened for the officers who were involved this tragically fatal incident."
The incident unfolded at 12:04 p.m. on Aug. 29 inside the home at Federal Lane after Perez and his common-law wife got into an argument, and she told him that their relationship was over. The wife passed a note to her 19-year-old son, asking him to call police to report a domestic incident in progress between his parents.
After two police officers arrived on the scene and tried to talk to Perez in the downstairs of the home, Perez eventually pulled out a knife and began to move toward one of the officers, who described Perez's posture as an attack stance from about 3 feet away. The other officer assessed the threat of death to his fellow officer and to himself as immediate and fired one shot, striking Perez in the chest.
A single shot was fired and both officers immediately reported the shot fired over police radio, and then immediately began rendering medical aid to Perez. No one else was harmed in the incident.
Interviewed later, one of the officers said he thought Perez "surely was going to stab him and was surprised that he had not been stabbed." The other officer said he was in fear for the lives of himself and his colleague because Perez "appeared to plan and intend to kill both officers." Based on the totality of the situation, he said he believed he had no other alternative but to fire his weapon at Perez.
In coming to his conclusion, Weintraub said he weighed the totality of the circumstances as reasonably perceived by both officers, but especially the shooting officer.
Weintraub said, "Since neither [police officers] are culpable in this matter, our investigation is accordingly closed."