Philadelphia police fatally shot a 31-year-old man who allegedly attacked an officer with a hammer and pickax Tuesday afternoon in the city’s Overbrook section, Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said. The officer was also struck in the leg by a bullet.
Two 19th District officers, a 35-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman, responded around 3:15 p.m. to a call on the 5700 block of Overbrook Avenue.
“The call was about someone in the basement with weapons. By the time the officers arrived the person was already coming up from the basement with the pickax and the hammer,” Outlaw said during a media briefing outside of Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where the injured male officer, who was listed in stable condition, was taken.
Outlaw said both officers ordered the man to drop the weapons.
“He disregarded their orders and walked toward both officers,” she said. The male officer deployed his Taser.
“The offender dropped to the ground but immediately got back up,” Outlaw said.
The confrontation then moved through the front door and outside the residence, Outlaw said. The 31-year-old man then struck the male officer in the head with one of the weapons and knocked him to the ground, then got on top of the officer and continued the assault, Outlaw said.
“At this point we know that the officers drew their service weapons and fired multiple shots at the male, striking him and ending the attack,” Outlaw said. During the exchange, the male police officer was struck in his right leg.
The 31-year-old man was taken by police to Lankenau Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
When asked if the injured officer had been struck by a police bullet, Outlaw responded: “All we know is the officer was struck during the confrontation. Obviously as we speak to witnesses who are being interviewed right now, as we review body-worn camera footage, as the night goes on we’ll be able to tell.”
The names of the man who was killed and the officers were not released.
Outlaw, who was accompanied at the briefing by Mayor Jim Kenney, said that “we received information in that initial call that it was possible [the man] had mental issues. Whether or not that was the case we don’t know because it happened so quickly.”
The wounded officer was in good spirits, the commissioner said. The other officer as well as other people inside the residence were not injured.
Overbrook Avenue is next to the campus of St. Joseph’s University and administrators issued an alert advising students and other members of the campus community to avoid the area because of the ongoing police investigation.
The entire block, a system of red brick duplexes, remained taped off by police Tuesday night. One nearby resident described it as a quiet area and said she hasn’t noticed a police presence in the past. The university is directly across from the home where the incident occurred, and students live on the block.