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Fatal Police Shooting In Philadelphia Sparks Protests, Clashes Overnight

Police officers stand guard in Philadelphia following protests over the police shooting death of Walter Wallace on Tuesday.
Police officers stand guard in Philadelphia following protests over the police shooting death of Walter Wallace on Tuesday.
David Delgado/Reuters

Updated at 9:34 a.m. ET

Violent clashes between police and demonstrators in Philadelphia erupted Monday night into the early hours of Tuesday after police fatally shot a 27-year-old Black man. Police reported that about 30 police officers were injured during the skirmishes, according to local media.

The man, identified by officials as Walter Wallace, was killed during a confrontation Monday afternoon in West Philadelphia.

The city's mayor and police commissioner promised a full investigation in a joint statement about the incident.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he watched bystander video, which shows parts of the altercation. He called it a "tragic incident and it presents difficult questions that must be answered."

"I recognize that the video of the incident raises many questions," Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw added. While visiting the scene of the shooting, Outlaw said she "heard and felt the anger of the community." She gave assurances that any questions about what led to the shooting will be addressed in the investigation.

The incident started around 4 p.m. local time, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, when two officers responded to a report of a man with a knife.

Sgt. Eric Gripp, a police spokesperson, told the newspaper that the responding officers ordered Wallace to drop the weapon, as Wallace "advanced towards officers."

Both officers then fired multiple times, Gripp told The Inquirer. He added that both officers were wearing body cameras.

The man's father, Walter Wallace Sr., told the newspaper he estimated police shot his son 10 times.

"Why didn't they use a Taser?" he said, according to The Inquirer. "His mother was trying to defuse the situation."

"He has mental issues," he said, adding that his son was on medication. "Why you have to gun him down?"

The graphic video of the shooting has gone viral on social media. It was shared by Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney who represents many Black families whose loved ones were killed or seriously injured by police this year, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake and Tafara Williams.

The video shows a chaotic scene in the middle of the street as officers, with guns drawn, are seen retreating from Wallace. He approaches with an object in his hand as a crowd looks on.

The video is shaky at times. At about 15 seconds into the video, it turns away as a series of gunshots ring out. The video swings back toward Wallace to show him limp in the middle of the street.

Bystanders scream after the shooting.

Hours later, protesters confronted officers who stood in a line with riot shields.

At least 30 officers were reportedly hurt during clashes. That includes one officer whose leg was broken after they were struck by a pickup truck, according to WCAU, an NBC affiliate in Philadelphia.

All other officers injured in the clashes were treated for injuries and released as of early Tuesday, the broadcaster reported.

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