In West Philidelphia (don’t do that, because I know you started to), an investigation is taking place after officials say that officers fired approximately 10 shots into a black man.
The shooting took place on Monday afternoon just before 5 pm at Locust and South 61st streets. Officers responded to a call about a man with a weapon, and when they arrived they saw 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr holding a knife.
Police said they repeatedly told Wallace to drop the knife but he wouldn’t listen. They then opened fire, shooting him multiple times before taking him to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
A witness told reporters that he didn’t hear the officers tell Wallace to drop the knife. Investigators said the officers involved were wearing body cameras which will be part of the investigation. No bodycam footage has been released as of yet.
The incident was caught on camera by a bystander. We have obtained the footage and included it below. The video may be traumatizing or even triggering, please view at your own discretion.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he spoke with Wallace’s family.
“My prayers are with the family and friends of Walter Wallace,” Kenney said. “I have watched the video of this tragic incident and it presents difficult questions that must be answered.”
Mayor Kenney and Philadelphia police commissioner Danielle Outlaw plan to meet with community members who live near where the shooting took place.
“I have directed the Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit to investigate,” Commissioner Outlaw said. “I recognize that the video of the incident raises many questions. Residents have my assurance that those questions will be fully addressed by the investigation.”
Outlaw said she “heard and felt the anger of the community” while at the scene of the shooting Monday evening.
“Everyone involved will forever be impacted,” she said. “I will be leaning on what the investigation gleans to answer the many unanswered questions that exist.”
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner also announced his office’s Special Investigation Unit will be part of the investigation.
“The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office takes its obligation to try to be fair and to seek evenhanded justice seriously,” Krasner said. “The DAO Special Investigation Unit responded to today’s fatal shooting of a civilian by police shortly after it occurred, and has been on scene with other DAO personnel since that time investigating, as we do jointly with the PPD Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation Unit, in shootings and fatalities by other means involving police.”
It didn’t take long for the news of the shooting to spread. Violent protests have erupted in Philadelphia. At least 30 police officers were injured late Monday into early Tuesday, including a 56-year-old sergeant who was clipped by a black pickup truck.
The names of the officers who shot Wallace were not immediately released. Both were taken off street duty pending the investigation.
Anyone who witnessed the shooting should call the DAO Special Investigation Unit hotline at 215-686-9608.