Philadelphia police said Thursday that the officer who shot a man holding a knife in Feltonville on Wednesday had retreated at least 225 feet before firing his weapon and that he did so after his fellow officers had deployed a Taser against the man three times.
Police also said they still do not know the name of the man who was shot and critically wounded on the 4700 block of Rorer Street. They said he was approximately 45 years old, but added they were still seeking to learn his identity after he was taken to Temple University Hospital. A spokesperson said police were unable to offer more details on his condition due to medical privacy laws.
A man who answered the door Thursday morning at the house overlooking the scene declined to speak to a reporter. Neighbors also said they did not want to discuss what happened. Several rows of crime-scene tape on a neighbor’s railing were the only signs of the events from the day before.
The account police offered Thursday otherwise largely resembled the one they had given Wednesday, when they said officers, responding to a report of a person with a knife, encountered the man holding the blade, repeatedly told him to drop it, deployed Tasers, and an officer fired three shots, striking the man in the chest.
The shooting was at least the 12th time police have shot someone this year, and the third police shooting in the city in 45 days.
Last month, officers fatally shot a man in Kensington after police said he tried to flee in his car and shot at officers who gave chase.
In October, two officers fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr., 27, who was suffering from mental illness when he approached them with a knife outside his home in West Philadelphia.
In Wednesday’s shooting, police said officers responding to the radio call reached Rorer Street around 11 a.m. and saw the man at the top of a set of stairs outside a house holding a 10-inch knife. He began descending and moving toward them, police said. The officers — whose names have not been released by authorities — began to back away and ordered the man to drop the weapon, police said.
As they retreated, one of the officers drew his Taser and fired it at the man, but police said it had no effect, and said the man “charged in the direction of” the other officer, who did not have a Taser.
Two other officers arrived, police said, and one of them fired his Taser at the man, but it, too, had no effect. Police said that the man “continued charging” at the officer without a Taser, and that the officer ran backward for about 225 feet and continued telling the man to drop the knife.
During the retreat, police said, the officer who was the second to fire his Taser fired it again. It still did not have an effect on the man, according to police.
The retreating officer then fired his gun at the man twice, police said. When the man continued to move toward the officer, police said, he fired a third shot that struck the man in the chest.
The man fell to the ground, and officers took him to the hospital. The knife was recovered at the scene, police said.
The officers involved will remain on desk duty as police continue to investigate.