Michael Diering spent much of the past 10 years watching his life circle the drain.
He dabbled in drugs, got into fights, broke into cars and bounced in and out of jail, according to court records.
Diering's friends said he recently started battling drug problems again, prompting his family to repeatedly call the police on him. Yesterday, he reached his breaking point and was shot during a standoff with police.
Police were called to 29th Street near Reed at about 4:30 p.m., where two 17th District officers say they found Diering slashing someone's car tires with a knife or an ice pick.
When the officers ordered Diering to drop the sharp object, he pulled out a gun, said Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel.
One of the cops opened fire, wounding Diering twice in the abdomen. He was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in critical but stable condition, police said.
Neither of the officers was injured.
As darkness fell on Grays Ferry last night and a bitter wind whipped through the crime scene, Diering's friends gathered outside the Pourhouse, a corner bar on 29th Street.
JoAnne, a 39-year-old woman who declined to give her last name, said she grew up with Diering and his family.
She said Diering was recently released from prison - a claim police officials couldn't confirm - and returned to his old neighborhood and addictions.
"He was still doing drugs," JoAnne said. "His mother threw him out and kept calling the cops on him. She wanted him locked up, so he would be safe."
Police said Diering lived with his mother on 29th Street, a block south of Reed Street.
"Michael told my friends the other day that he was going to point a fake gun at the cops if his mother called them again. He wanted the cops to shoot him," she said.
Bethel said Diering made similar remarks to the two 17th District cops. It was not immediately clear whether the gun Diering had on him was real or fake.
"If it wasn't a real gun, it was an incredibly good replica," Bethel said.
Diering's criminal history stretches back to 1993 and includes 17 arrests, police said. He was found guilty in several of those cases, on charges that ranged from simple assault and recklessly endangering another person to impersonating a public servant and possessing a controlled substance. *