The man, later confirmed to be Walter Wallace Jr., was shot by officers after they arrived at the Cobbs Creek neighborhood in response to what a department spokesperson later said was a "report of a person with a weapon." According to the Associated Press, the department also said that Wallace was holding a knife and was told to drop it, though activists and prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump have since noted that the involved officers made no attempts at de-escalation.
Instead, officers fired at Wallace, hitting him in the shoulder and chest. One of the officers on the scene then drove Wallace to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Footage of the shooting, taken by a witness, has been widely shared on social media. In the video, it's not made clear whether Wallace had a knife. A woman is seen running up to Wallace and screaming after the officers fired multiple shots. Other witnesses are also seen approaching him.
Speaking with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Wallace's father—Walter Wallace Sr.—wondered why the officers didn't use a taser instead of fatally shooting him. He also said that his mother was attempting to diffuse the situation at the time.
"He has mental issues," Wallace Sr. said. "Why you have to gun him down?"
The shooting inspired protests overnight in Philadelphia. In a statement, Mayor Jim Kenney said there will be a "full investigation" into the shooting.
'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."