The knife-wielding man shot by Philadelphia police last Wednesday in Feltonville was struck by Tasers three times before an officer on the scene opened fire with his service gun, striking the man in the chest, the Police Department said Monday.
Jose Cerda, 50, remains in critical condition in Temple University Hospital, and has been charged with assault of a law enforcement officer, possession of an instrument of crime, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person, police said. His bail has been set at $250,000, records show.
The department had withheld his name and the officers’ names until Monday.
Cerda, who lives in the block where he was shot, is the third man shot by Philadelphia police in as many months. At least 12 people have been shot by police this year, according to department data.
In a statement released Monday, the department gave this account of Cerda’s shooting:
On Dec. 9 at approximately 10:54 a.m., Officer Gerald Murphy and another officer responded in a marked patrol car to a radio call for a person armed with a knife in the 4700 block of Rorer Street.
Upon arrival, they saw Cerda on the top landing of a home’s stairs, armed with a 10-inch knife. When he began descending the stairs toward the officers, they began backing away and ordering him to drop the knife.
Murphy, who was not equipped with a Taser, drew his firearm and ordered Cerda to stop and drop the knife, while the other officer, whom the department did not identify, drew his Taser and fired it. The electrical charge struck Cerda but did not deter him, and he continued walking toward the officers.
Two more uniformed officers, also unidentified, responded to the scene as backup. One also fired his Taser at Cerda, ”which had no effect,” police said.
Cerda then charged at Murphy, who retreated, running backward for 225 feet, in the middle of the street and gave approximately 13 commands to drop the knife, the statement said. One of the backup officers again fired his Taser at Cerda but with no effect.
Murphy then fired his gun two times, paused and shouted for the Cerda to stop, police said.
“When the defendant continued to advance towards Officer Murphy, Officer Murphy fired a third time, striking the male in the chest. Officer Murphy then kicked the knife away from the defendant and the male was taken into custody,” the statement said.
Murphy, a member of the force for three years, is expected to remain on desk duty while the department’s review is ongoing.