A Philly woman allegedly wanted for shoplifting was fatally shot and killed by a South Jersey police officer who she was allegedly driving towards in an SUV.
LaShanda Anderson, 36, was unarmed and driving a car when around 3:45 p.m. on June 9 when she was fatally shot by police a strip mall near the Deptford Mall in South Jersey. A female passenger, identified as Chanel Barnes, 27, was in the car and taken into custody. A male, Raoul Gadson, reportedly fled on foot.
All three were allegedly suspected in a recent theft at the nearby Marshall's department store in the Deptford Mall. The Deptford Township Police officer who shot Anderson was among those responding to the robbery. All three also have multiple previous arrests in Philadelphia on charges of theft and unlawful taking, and Anderson was identified by Delaware State Police in 2017 as a member of a theft ringing targeting Marshall's.
Police say Anderson drove a rented Nissan Armada SUV toward police, hit one officer with an open driver side door, and was driving at a sergeant who fired three shots, fatally striking Anderson, the Inquirer reported.
Police had been called to the strip mall, Deptford Crossing, which is across the street from the Deptford Mall, after Marshall's security recognized some of the trio from a company security bulletin. Police said that upon arrival, security was struggling with Gadson, who fled on foot after seeing officers. Anderson and Barnes allegedly got into their SUV to flee with "substantial merchandise" in tow, police said, and drove off before encountering officers and being fired upon.
Barnes was arrested and is in Salem County jail on theft charges. Gadson remains wanted on assault and theft charges.
South Jersey civil rights activist Walter Hudson said that the account Anderson's death from police and prosecutors should not be taken "at face value," and called for state authorities to step in and review the incident.
"With the climate and conditions of the police and community relations in America, when there is a shooting death of black and brown people in America, we must demand transparency in the investigation," Hudson said in a statement. "Because of the close working relationship with the local prosecutor office of Gloucester County, and Deptford Township Police, we cannot take their account as to what happened to Ms. Lashanda Anderson at face value. By that, I am calling on the Attorney General of New Jersey, to take over the investigation and release all audio and camera footage leading up to the death of Ms. Lashanda Anderson. I demand a transparent and impartial investigation.”
The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.