Whitehall police fatally shoots SUV passenger who reached for gun during a traffic stop

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Whitehall police officers shot and killed a passenger in an SUV after responding to reports of gunshots in a department store parking lot.

The shooting happened about 2 a.m. near the Roses Discount Store in the 4600 block of East Main Street. The man, whom police described as in his mid-30s, died at the scene. As of Friday morning, police had not released his name.

The two unidentified officers were involved in an unrelated traffic stop when they heard nearby gunfire. A minute later, the department's gunshot detection system alerted the officers to a shooting.

The officers came upon two vehicles in the parking lot. One fled as the officers pulled up, according to Deputy Chief Dan Kelso. A Honda Pilot SUV with two men remained at the scene.

Kelso said the officers noticed guns in the backseat of the SUV, and the officers began giving commands to both men, who didn't speak English. One officer knew enough Spanish to give the commands in that language, Kelso said.

Officers managed to persuade the driver to get out of the car, but Kelso said the passenger turned around and reached into the back seat. That's when both officers opened fire, hitting and killing the man, Kelso said.

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