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SEPTA cops release body cam footage of police-involved shooting

SEPTA Chief Thomas Nestel III said three of his officers fired. Philadelphia police have not said how many of their responding officers fired at the man or if the man fired at police.

Septa Police Chief Thomas Nestel III
Septa Police Chief Thomas Nestel IIIRead moreCAMERON B. POLLACK / Staff Photographer

Body camera footage from SEPTA Transit Police officers who were involved in a shooting Wednesday evening in Kensington shows an officer repeatedly yelling for a man who allegedly shot his wife to put his hands up before seven Philadelphia and SEPTA police officers fire at him.

SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel III, who outfitted his entire department with body cameras in January 2016, released the footage at a news conference Thursday morning, less than 24 hours after the incident involving SEPTA and Philadelphia police.

"I think that if we take the step to get body cameras for our officers, I think we have to provide that video for the public," Nestel said. Body cameras "should be a public program, not a private investigative tool."

Around 7:30 p.m., a SEPTA police sergeant on patrol near SEPTA's Somerset station was approached by a woman who told him there was a shooting nearby on the 400 block of Somerset Street, Nestel said.

According to Philadelphia police, a 38-year-old man identified as Jose LeBron shot his 48-year-old wife in the neck and fled to another house on the block.

Nestel released footage of the SEPTA sergeant approaching the shooting scene. A child can be heard crying as a woman in a white T-shirt on the sidewalk directs the officer to a house with an open door and what appears to be a young woman or child standing just inside.

According to Nestel, the officer found the woman inside with a gunshot wound; he's shown on video administering first aid to her.

In a second video released Thursday, two SEPTA officers responding to the woman's shooting pull up to the house to which LeBron allegedly fled. One of the officers gets out of the vehicle and yells at LeBron as he stands on the porch of the home.

"Hands up! Hands up! Hands up!" the officer screams before raising his own hands to shoot.

According to Philadelphia police, LeBron was on the porch pointing a gun at his head and also at arriving officers before police fired on him.

About eight gunshots can be heard on the video. It's difficult to see the suspect; for much of the short video, the officer is ducking behind cars for cover, which obscures the view of his body camera. Nestel said that in such situations, the audio becomes paramount in assessing how the officers handled a situation.

According to Nestel, three of his officers fired. Philadelphia Police spokesman Capt. Sekou Kinebrew said four Philadelphia police officers fired at the man. A firearm was recovered at the scene, along with several .40-caliber rounds, according to police.

LeBron was taken to Temple University Hospital in stable condition with gunshot wounds to his right shoulder and both legs, police said. He was charged Thursday afternoon with attempted murder, aggravated assault, firearms violations, and related offenses.

The woman, who hasn't been identified, was listed in critical condition at Temple with a gunshot wound to her neck, police said.

Nestel did not comment on whether he believed the shooting was justified. He said his department is conducting an administrative investigation "to determine whether or not the transit police officers acted properly in accordance with our departmental policy." All officers who fired their weapons have been placed on administrative duty while the investigations are underway.