By Sandy Malone and Holly Matkin
Philadelphia, PA – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf activated the National Guard on Tuesday in anticipation of more violent riots in Philadelphia after at least 30 officers were injured on Monday night.
“At the direction of Governor Wolf, and PEMA, the Pennsylvania National Guard is mobilizing several hundred members in support of the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management and assist local agencies in protecting life, property and the right to peacefully assemble and protest,” Pennsylvania National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Keith Hickox said in a statement released on Oct. 27.
“Assisting civil authorities during time of need is one of our core missions in the National Guard and our Citizen Soldiers and Airmen are well-trained and well-prepared to assist our commonwealth and our communities in any way we can,” Lt. Col. Hickox continued. “We are able to conduct operations in support of civil authorities to enhance local law enforcement’s ability to provide continued public safety and critical infrastructure security.”
The governor activated the guard following violent riots that erupted in Philadelphia after police fatally shot a man who rushed them with a knife on Monday afternoon, FOX News reported.
The PA National Guard will be in Philadelphia tonight after a night of looting and violence, and to help facilitate peaceful protests, per this statement from the Guard: @NBCPhiladelphia pic.twitter.com/SxXkjOXos0
— Randy Gyllenhaal (@RandyGyllenhaal) October 27, 2020
The city spent Tuesday preparing for more riots.
“For today and this evening, we anticipate the chance of additional incidents of civil unrest and, as such, we will be taking additional steps to ensure order,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said told reporters at a press conference on Oct. 27.
Commissioner Outlaw, standing beside the mayor and other city leaders, said the city had increased the presence of police at “key locations” to respond to violence reported, FOX News reported.
However, the city’s top cop would not say in what areas officers would be concentrated.
“We were hoping that we won’t have any repeat of we’ve seen last night and we’re taking every precaution that we can,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said.
The chaos began at approximately 4 p.m., when Philadelphia police received a report about a man with a weapon in the 6100-block of Locust Street, WNYW reported.
Two officers responded to the scene and encountered a suspect who was brandishing a knife.
Cell phone footage showed police as they scrambled to keep distance between themselves and the knife-wielding attacker.
Philadelphia Police spokesperson Sergeant Eric Gripp said the officers repeatedly ordered the suspect to drop the weapon, but that he instead “advanced towards the officers,” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
As they backed away into the street, the suspect charged towards them with the blade, at which point police opened fire, the video showed.
Family members later identified the suspect as Walter Wallace Jr., The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
One of the officers rushed the wounded suspect to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Sgt. Gripp said.
Wallace’s father said the officers should have used a Taser instead of shooting his son, who he said was struck 10 times by bullets, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
He claimed Wallace had “mental issues,” and said that his mother had been “trying to defuse the situation” prior to the officer-involved shooting.
“Everyone is saying, ‘Don’t shoot him, he’s gonna put it down, we know him,’” witness Maurice Holloway told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Holloway said Wallace’s mother tried to stop her son, but that he brushed her off and began advancing on the officers.
“He turns and then you hear the shots,” the witness told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “It was so many shots.”
Residents swarmed the officers immediately after the shooting and began yelling at them, cell phone footage showed.
Philadelphia is rioting over the shooting death of a man who charged police officers with a knife.
Black Lives Matter activists are throwing bricks at police officers, at least several of whom have been reportedly injured (per the police scanner). pic.twitter.com/aZfAz6OAUU
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) October 27, 2020
The angry mob had grown by the time Commissioner Outlaw arrived at the scene, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The crowd continued yelling at police and demanded to know why the officers opted to use deadly force.
“Why not a warning shot?” community organizer Arnett Woodall asked The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Why not a Taser? Why not a shot in the leg?”
“The city of Philadelphia can do better,” Woodall added.
Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter protesters converged at Malcolm X Park at Pine Street and 51st Street, where they proceeded to march to the Philadelphia police station several blocks away, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Officers with riot shields positioned themselves behind metal barriers outside the station to defend against hours of confrontations with the crowd.
Rioters hurled bricks, rocks, and other objects at police as looting broke out throughout the city, WNYW reported.