A Philadelphia police officer fatally shot a man in Kensington on Thursday after the man led police on a car chase that ended when he crashed his Ford Mustang on a sidewalk in front of a church, fled on foot, and fired two shots from a handgun at the officer, a Police Department spokesperson said.

Authorities did not release the name of the man, who they said was 39, lived in the area, and was known to police.

On Thursday afternoon, residents watched from their front steps and sidewalks as police officers and detectives processed the scene at the intersection of Jasper Street and Hart Lane, where the officer killed the alleged gunman.

The car belonging to the man accused of shooting at a Philadelphia police officer, who returned fire, killing the man in Kensington on Thursday.
Mensah M. Dean/ Staff
The car belonging to the man accused of shooting at a Philadelphia police officer, who returned fire, killing the man in Kensington on Thursday.

Sgt. Eric Gripp, a Police Department spokesperson, said the incident started at 1:27 p.m., when two uniformed officers driving an unmarked car from the 24th Police District came upon a red Mustang stopped in the 3100 block of B Street.

“They tried honking their horn, but the vehicle wasn’t moving," Gripp said. The officers got out of their car to investigate, he said, and saw that the man had a handgun. When the driver saw the officers, he drove off, Gripp said.

The officers got back in their car, gave chase, and caught up to the Mustang after the driver crashed it onto the sidewalk at the intersection of Ruth and Somerset Streets and ran, Gripp said.

One officer stayed with the wrecked vehicle while the other continued the chase in his unmarked police vehicle. A few blocks away, the officer spotted the man at the intersection of Jasper Street and Hart Lane, Gripp said.

“Our officer driving the vehicle comes upon this male on foot. He pulls right up next to him and tells him to stop and show his hands," said Gripp. "That male produces a handgun and fires at least two shots at our officer. Our officer returns fire at least two times, striking him.”

Gripp said he did not know where the man had been shot.

He said that the officers were wearing body cameras and that surveillance video of the shooting has been recovered and corroborates the officers' version of events. The department’s Internal Affairs Unit and Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit are conducting concurrent investigations and the findings will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office, Gripp said.

The shooting marked the second time Philadelphia police had killed a man in 18 days. On Oct. 26, two police 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. Wallace’s death set off days of protests and unrest in the city as his family, neighbors, and others decried the shooting.

Wallace was Black; the man killed Thursday by police was Hispanic, Gripp said.

“Here we are again, the scene of another officer-involved shooting," Gripp, the police spokesperson said. "Officers unfortunately had to use deadly force. This entire incident took place over a couple of minutes. It shows how quickly these things can develop, how quickly they can unfold, and just how dangerous things can be out here.”