Police shoot and kill man armed with knife in West Philly, officials say

This story originally appeared on NBC10.

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An investigation is underway after a man who police say was armed with a knife was shot and killed by officers in West Philadelphia late Monday afternoon.

Police said they were called to Locust and South 61st streets shortly before 5 p.m. for a report of a man with a weapon. When they arrived they say they found a man, later identified as Walter Wallace, who was 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 NBC10 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. Videos of the shooting from witnesses have surfaced on social media.

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.”

Both 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.”

Anyone who witnessed the shooting should call the DAO Special Investigation Unit hotline at 215-686-9608.

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