A Philadelphia police officer on Monday night shot and critically wounded a man in Kensington who authorities said ignored the officer’s commands and continued walking toward him while holding a box cutter.
In a news release issued Tuesday morning, police said the officer “repeatedly ordered the male to drop the utility knife,” then fired several shots as he backpedaled and the man continued walking toward him at Allegheny Avenue and Front Street about 10:15 p.m. Police did not identify the wounded man or the officer.
Videos of the shooting posted on Instagram showed the man walking toward a group of officers who had their guns drawn. In one of the videos, officers can be heard yelling at the man as he advances toward them, and also urging other people on the street to back up.
At the same time, residents can be heard telling police that they know the man. One onlooker can be heard saying, “Officer, I got him!” Another man yelled: “Just Tase him!”
None of the officers present at the time of the shooting was equipped with a Taser, a police spokesperson said Tuesday afternoon. According to directives published on the department’s website, officers must pass basic training and be recertified annually to carry what police call electronic control weapons.
The directives say that an officer is authorized to use a Taser when someone is “physically aggressive or assaultive and there is an immediate likelihood that they may injure themselves or others.”
The use of deadly force is allowed “when the officer has objectively reasonable belief that they must protect themselves or another person from the immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury,” according to another set of directives.
Five shots can be heard in the videos. Police in their news release said the man was struck in the torso, but did not specify where or how many times. They said other officers at the scene disarmed the man after he fell to his knees, and that an orange box cutter was recovered.
The man was taken to a hospital — police did not specify which one — and was listed in critical condition.
Police said the incident started when officers patrolling the area noticed the man, who was on foot, as he got into an altercation with someone driving a Nissan Titan SUV. The driver sped away north on Front Street, police said, at which point officers confronted the man holding the box cutter.
Tuesday afternoon, the intersection of the two busy streets was busy, with few signs of the encounter the night before. Three men who were at the corner — Stanley Jones, 27; Peter Cotor, 48; and Jonathan Resto, 25, said the man who was shot, whom they identified only as Danny, was in the area a lot and sometimes cleaned a convenience store on the corner.
The shooting marked the seventh time this year that Philadelphia police have shot someone, according to department statistics. Through the same date last year, statistics say, police had shot eight people.
The incident remained under investigation Tuesday, police said.