Black man shot dead by police in Philadelphia, sparking heated protests
Police in Philadelphia shot and killed a Black man on Monday, triggering protests that saw at least 30 officers injured, officials said.
Police said they shot Walter Wallace Jr., 27, after responding to a call about a man armed with a knife.
The responding officers ordered Wallace “several times” to drop the knife and he continued to “advance towards” them, according to a statement. They then fired their weapons “multiple times,” shooting him in the chest and shoulder, and he was pronounced dead at the hospital just after 4 p.m., the statement added.
Wallace was recently married, and had seven children and one on the way, according to a statement from his cousin Carnell Hurley made on behalf of his family. He was shot in front of his mother and brother, Hurley said.
Hurley said in the statement that Wallace was “at least 20 feet away” from the officers and they “shot a dozen shots.”
A video capturing the incident and posted on social media showed him walking near two police officers with their guns drawn. The police officers appear to shout at Wallace to put down a knife.
It is not known what occurred before the recording began.
“I have watched the video of this tragic incident and it presents difficult questions that must be answered,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement.
Wallace’s father, Walter Wallace Sr., told the Philadelphia Inquirer that his son struggled with mental health issues and was on medication.
“Why didn’t they use a Taser?” the paper quoted Wallace’s father as saying. “His mother was trying to defuse the situation.”
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit and the Philadelphia Police Department’s Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation Unit are looking into Wallace’s shooting.
Police commissioner Danielle Outlaw said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that the officers involved did not have Tasers.
“Every police officer is not issued a Taser at this time,” she said. “It’s common for officers to respond to a domestic disturbance, or any type of call, with a gun because that’s one of the tools that we carry on our toolbelt.”
Each officer fired about seven rounds, Chief inspector Frank Vanore said at the press conference. It was unclear how many shots struck Wallace.
Monday evening, protesters gathered and marched through the city. Later, stores were looted. Video posted on social media showed people throwing things at police officers wearing helmets and holding shields.
Some officers were injured after rocks and bricks were thrown toward them, police said.
After the shooting, a pickup truck struck a 56-year-old officer who was admitted to the hospital with a broken leg and other injuries, according to a police statement.
A video on social media showed a row of officers wearing helmets when the truck rounded the corner and struck the officer.
More than 20 people were arrested for looting in several different locations, police said in a separate statement.