A Philadelphia police officer this afternoon shot and critically wounded a 34-year-old Grays Ferry man wielding what they said may have been a fake gun.

Police said Michael Diering of the 1300 block of South 29th Street was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, with a single wound to his stomach, following the incident outside his home.

"It appears to be a justifiable shooting," Inspector Scott Small said tonight. He said the suspect pointed what appeared to be a gun at one of the officers responding to a disturbance call shortly after 4 p.m.

The weapon was later found to be a replica of a Walther PPK pistol, Small said. He said the weapon would be tested by ballistics. Diering was also brandishing an ice pick, Small said, and had apparently slashed two tires on his mother's car.

Police were called to the scene to answer reports of a man wielding a gun and knife, Small said. After they arrived, he pointed the replica at one of the officers who ordered him to drop it. The man refused, and one officer, whose name was not released, fired three times, hitting the man once.

Lt. Frank Vanore said the talk in the neighborhood was that Diering wanted to commit "suicide by cop" or by overdosing.

Small said police found a syringe at the scene as well as one on the suspect after he was taken to the hospital.

Neighbors said the man had recently gotten out of a halfway house and had been feuding with his mother. On Thursday, she threw him out of the house, they said.

Police-involved shootings have become a touchy issue in the city. Confronted with a recent spike in police shootings recently, Mayor Nutter ordered Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey in January to lead a "complete review and analysis" of the department policies on the use of deadly force.

Last year, police shootings left 15 dead. In 2006, 20 civilians were killed by police, more than in any year since 1980 and the highest total among the nation's 10 largest cities.

Contact staff writer Dwight Ott at 215-854-2797 or dott@phillynews.com.