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Relative Claims Upper Perk Police Knew of Bartholomew’s Issues
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

State Police Covering Pennsburg Calls Following Shooting


            Trey Bartholomew, the Pennsburg man fatally shot by Upper Perk police last week, was dealing with mental issues, according to a cousin. Cassidy Heil claims the officers in Pennsburg knew Bartholomew and were aware of his condition.

            "We thought the matter would have been handled differently," Heil said.

            The Feb. 9 shooting death of Bartholomew, 27, of Valley Court, remains under investigation by the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.  According to information provided by law enforcement officials, Bartholomew charged an officer wielding a samurai-type sword in the area of East Eighth Street and Long Alley. Neighbors heard three gunshots, which were fired at Bartholomew.

            Police officers immediately rendered first aid, but the man died at the scene. A sword was recovered near the body, according to a news release provided by Kate Delano, the director of communications for the office.

            According to Heil, the family remains upset about the shooting. She said they are more frustrated with the outcome.

            "We don't want Trey to be portrayed as a bad person," said Heil, who grew up in Pennsburg and lives in Milford Township. "He was fighting his demons."

            Heil claims Bartholomew's mother attempted to get him into a mental hospital. However, the cousin said "everybody turned her down."

            In an email message, Heil described Bartholomew as a loving and compassionate person who was a child of the Lord and thoroughly studied the Bible.  "He was loved and cared for by many," Heil wrote. "He would never hurt anyone, he just was having a mental episode and broke down. I think this world needs to do better with raising awareness and helping individuals with mental health problems."

            At 7:41 p.m. a 911 operator dispatched Upper Perk Police for a call about a family member armed with a bladed weapon threatening to harm others. According to the initial investigation, an Upper Perk police officer who arrived with his vehicle lights and siren activated encountered Bartholomew in Long Alley.

            Detectives responded to the scene following the shooting per protocol for officer-involved shootings. Delano declined to comment further Tuesday, citing an active investigation.

            The DA's office does not release the names of any officer involved unless they will be criminally charged, according to an email message received Tuesday afternoon.

            Upper Perk's officers are not equipped with body cameras, according to Pennsburg Council President Diane Stevens. She did not return a phone message left Tuesday seeking comment.

            Heil set up a GoFundMe page seeking donations to help fund Bartholomew's funeral. It generated more than $11,000.  "This town loved and cared about Trey," she said. "The people did everything they could to help his mother out."

            Police coverage in Pennsburg continues while the Upper Perk Police Department remains temporarily off duty following last week's shooting. The state police are currently handling all calls in the borough. A phone call to the station Wednesday morning went to voicemail.

            "The residents have police security in the borough," Mayor Charles Shagg said Tuesday morning.

            Within a day or two after the shooting, the state agency began responding to all calls in the municipality. The Upper Perk police are being advised of all incidents in the borough and are expected to return to service soon.





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