Unrest overnight in West Philly after police kill man they say had knife; body cam video under review

Police fatally shoot man they say brandished knife in West Philadelphia; protesters march in response
Authorities are investigating what happened when two Philadelphia police officers shot and killed a man in Cobbs Creek on Oct. 26, 2020. Police say the man had a knife and was waving it erratically. Protesters started marching just hours after the police-involved shooting. Photo credit Kristen Johanson/KYW Newsradio
By and KYW Newsradio 1060

UPDATED: Oct. 27, 1:55 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Unrest lasted overnight in West Philadelphia hours after police shot and killed a man in Cobbs Creek on Monday afternoon. Authorities are investigating the shooting.

A Philadelphia Police Department spokesman, in a release of preliminary information, said 30 officers were hurt. Eight police cars and one fire department vehicle were damaged during the unrest, including one cop car that was set on fire.

Stores on 52nd Street in West Philadelphia were vandalized and looted
Stores on 52nd Street in West Philadelphia were vandalized and looted Monday night after residents took to the streets to protest the killing of a man by police. Photo credit Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio

Many stores in West Philadelphia were vandalized and broken into. More than 90 people have been arrested to date and accused of looting, vandalism, or assaulting police.

Police were called to 61st and Locust streets around 3 p.m., where they say the man had a knife and was waving it erratically.

Police spokesperson Sgt. Eric Gripp said there was some sort of domestic disturbance on the block, and the two officers told the man to drop the knife several times.

“The male continued to follow them while brandishing a weapon and the officers ordered him to drop it several more times,” he said. “Unfortunately, he did not, and the officers discharged their weapons several times, striking the male.”

He was struck in the chest and the shoulder around 3:45 p.m.

“Upon being struck, the male immediately dropped the knife and was scooped up by one of the discharging officers, who took him into his police car and took him to Penn Presbyterian (Medical Center),” said Gripp.

He died at the hospital. The mayor identified him as Walter Wallace Jr.

Body cameras were activated, and the footage is being reviewed.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said the DAO Special Investigations Unit is investigating jointly with the PPD Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation Unit.

In a statement, Mayor Jim Kenney said: “My prayers are with the family and friends of Walter Wallace. I have watched the video of this tragic incident and it presents difficult questions that must be answered. I spoke tonight with Mr. Wallace’s family, and will continue to reach out to hear their concerns first-hand, and to answer their questions to the extent that I am able.”

“I recognize that the video of the incident raises many questions,” added Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. “Residents have my assurance that those questions will be fully addressed by the investigation. While at the scene this evening, I heard and felt the anger of the community. Everyone involved will forever be impacted. I will be leaning on what the investigation gleans to answer the many unanswered questions that exist.”

Protesters started marching just hours after the police-involved shooting. They gathered 10 blocks away at Malcolm X Park, near 51st and Pine streets.

A police spokesperson said many officers were hit with bricks or rocks, and they were treated and released from the hospital.

A 56-year-old sergeant was admitted to the hospital. Police say she broke her leg when she was intentionally hit by a pickup truck at 52nd and Walnut streets.

Looters pulled this cash register out of a store in West Philly during a period of unrest overnight.
Looters pulled this cash register out of a store in West Philly during a period of unrest overnight. Photo credit Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio

KYW Newsradio was on scene when dozens of people swarmed to a Foot Locker at 52nd and Chestnut streets. They started to loot the store after a large group of police officers left the area.

Shortly afterward, a group broke the metal security gate of a beauty supply store at 52nd and Sansom streets.

This is the second fatal police-involved shooting this year.

The two officers are being interviewed, as investigators collect surveillance and social media videos. The incident remains under investigation.

Stay with KYW Newsradio for the latest updates.