Violence tears through West Philly after deadly police shooting; 30 officers injured

Locust and South 61st streets, where police shot and killed a man on Monday

The unidentified man was shot by police on Locust and South 61st streets shortly before 5 p.m. He later died at the hospital. (NBC10)

This story originally appeared on NBC10.

___

Angry crowds took to the streets in West Philadelphia overnight after police shot and killed a man armed with a knife Monday, with some in the crowds throwing rocks and bricks at police and some looting or vandalizing businesses.

At least 30 police officers were hurt, police said. One was hospitalized, a 56-year-old sergeant who was struck by a pickup truck at 52nd and Walnut streets early Tuesday. Her leg was broken, among other injuries, police said.

All the officers, except for the one struck by the truck, had been treated and released as of early Tuesday.

The violence followed protests in response to the death of Walter Wallace, a Black man who police shot and killed Monday in the city’s Cobbs Creek neighborhood.

Police said several stores were looted, including several Rite Aid stores in West Philadelphia, clothing and shoe stores and at least one restaurant. They could also be seen trying to break into a check cashing store and going in and out of a beauty supply store.

Clothes and merchandise were strewn across the sidewalk and street at 57th and Vine streets, where the glass screens of two ATMs had been bashed in.

Police cars and dumpsters were set on fire as police struggled to contain the crowds. More than a dozen officers, many with batons in hand, formed a line as they ran down 52nd Street chasing protesters away from the main thoroughfare. The crowd largely dispersed then.

Police said five police vehicles and one fire department vehicle were vandalized. More than 30 people were arrested for throwing rocks and bricks at police or looting, police said.

The looting, vandalism and violence were initially concentrated in West Philadelphia’s commercial corridors. But, unrest and looting was also reported in other parts of the city, including Center City, North Philly and Germantown.

The looting picked up again before daybreak as people could be seen going in and out of stores.

Drivers are being urged to avoid the area of 52nd and Chestnut streets. SEPTA also suspended the Route 52 line due to “civil unrest” and detoured the route 21 and 31 buses.

Earlier in the night, protesters gathered outside the 18th District police headquarters on 55th and Pine streets as well as the University of Penn Police headquarters on 40th and Chestnut streets.

The protests, unrest and looting occurred hours after 27-year-old Walter Wallace was shot and killed by two Philadelphia police officers in Cobbs Creek. Investigators said Wallace was armed with a knife when he approached the officers and ignored them when they told him to drop the weapon.

Video from a witness showed Wallace walking toward the officers as his mother tried to restrain him. It’s unclear in the video however whether or not Wallace is holding a weapon.

As Wallace continues to approach the officers, the camera briefly points downward and the sounds of several gunshots are heard as the police open fire. The camera then rises again, showing Wallace motionless on the ground as his mother runs toward him, screaming hysterically.

Wallace was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and District Attorney Larry Krasner all released statements in response to the shooting, saying they would investigate the incident.

Fraternal Order of Police president John McNesby also released a statement defending the officers.

Monday’s shooting, protests and unrest occurred amid a year of widespread unrest in Philadelphia and cities across the country in reaction to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

Get the WHYY app!

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal