A 35-year-old man was shot and killed by police in West Philadelphia last night following a struggle with officers over a gun he was allegedly wielding.
Two patrol officers first encountered the man shortly after 11:45 p.m. as he was riding a bicycle near 61st and Arch streets and attempted to stop him in regards to a previous incident, Lt. John Stanford said.
The man allegedly fled on the bike, leading officers on a brief pursuit to 61st and Market streets, where Stanford said it appears he may have fallen between two parked cars. "At that time, one of officers observed a handgun in the right hand of the suspect," Standford said, leading the officer to tackle him. "A violent struggle ensued, with the suspect maintaining control of the firearm the entire time."
Stanford said one of the officers pulled his service weapon and shot the man about three times, killing him. His identity has not yet been released pending family notification. Stanford said that a fully-loaded .45-caliber handgun was recovered from the scene.
Investigators now believe the man was not involved in the incident that initially prompted the officers to attempt to stop him, Stanford said, but he noted the man had 18 prior arrests in Philadelphia and two in locations outside of the city whose charges included assault, firearms violations and narcotics. Internal Affairs is investigating the incident, as is standard procedure in police-involved shootings.