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Riots Erupt After Police Shoot ‘Unarmed’ Man Chasing Cop With Knife

Lancaster, PA – Hundreds of rioters smashed out the windows of the Lancaster Police Department (LPD) and attacked officers with glass bottles and road barricades following the officer-involved shooting of a suspect who chased an officer down the street with a knife raised above his head.

A Lancaster police officer discharged his duty weapon at 27-year-old Ricardo Munoz during the Sept. 13 encounter as Munoz closed in on him with the knife.

Police released bodycam footage of the unprovoked attack on the officer just hours after the fatal shooting, but rioters had already converged at the scene to denounce the officer’s use of deadly force.

Black Lives Matter protest organizers declared that Munoz was an unarmed black teen who was the victim of police brutality, according to The Post Millennial.

Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams urged the community to remain calm in a press release later in the day, The Morning Call reported.

“We ask that acts of protest remain peaceful as violence and destruction of property will become headlines and serve no purpose for the safety and wellbeing of our citizens and neighborhoods,” Adams implored.

The mob spent the night smashing out the windows of LPD, the post office, and multiple private vehicles and patrol cars, WGAL reported.

Rioters ignited fires in the middle of the street and attacked police with liquid-filled gallon jugs, glass bottles, and portions of plastic road barricades during the violent uprisings, according to The Morning Call.

Looters broke into at least one business and took off with merchandise, according to a witness’s tweet.

They even pulled up bricks surrounding the base of trees lining the sidewalk and hurled them at the police station and the post office, WGAL reported.

The group converged on the access ramp on the west side of the LPD and locked arms at one point during the night.

Officers dressed in riot gear deployed OC gas to disperse the crowd, so some members of the group started tossing canisters back at police, Lancaster Online reported.

“A public address system was used to provide several warnings that if the group did not move from the ramp that chemical munitions would be deployed,” the LPD said in a press release. “The group failed to follow the instructions and chemical agents were used to disperse the crowd.”

The mob dispersed briefly before reconvening outside the police station once again.

They used trash cans, debris and various road signs to barricade the roadway and smashed out the windows of multiple vehicles during the night, according to Lancaster Online.

“Members of the crowd damaged a county vehicle parked in the front of the police station,” LPD confirmed. “Bricks were thrown through the front of the police station and into the post office window.”

Police arrested a total of eight people during the overnight chaos, the LPD said in a press release on Monday.

Four of the rioters were were arrested were not from Lancaster County.

Two of the suspects police arrested were allegedly in possession of handguns during the riots, the LPD said.

City crews spent hours cleaning up the downtown area after the mob dispersed early Monday morning, WGAL reported.

The encounter between LPD and Munoz began at approximately 4:15 p.m. on Sunday, when Lancaster police were dispatched to the 300-block of Laurel Street for a report of a domestic disturbance, Lancaster Online reported.

The caller reported that Munoz was being aggressive with his mother and trying to force his way into her home, police said.

Bodycam footage showed one of the officers as he walked down the sidewalk towards the woman’s home.

Moments later, the front door of a house began to open, and a woman on the other side began yelling at someone inside the residence, the video showed.

She suddenly scrambled out of the house – closing the door behind her – as a man yelled out from somewhere in the home.

“Get back, get back,” the officer told the woman, as he also stepped away from the front porch slightly.

The woman was barely clear of the entryway when the door flew open again and Munoz came out of the home with a knife raised above his head, heading directly for the officer, the video showed.

Officer tried to run away, but the knife-wielding attacker quickly closed in on him.

He was just feet away when the officer fired his duty weapon, hitting him multiple times.

Munoz immediately collapsed to the ground, dropping his knife onto the pavement, the video showed.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, Lancaster Online reported.

The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office is handling the ongoing investigation into the fatal officer-involved shooting, according to police.

The LPD has also launched an internal investigation “to make sure policy and training and use of force was properly followed and established,” LPD Chief Jarrad Berkihiser told Lancaster Online.

The officer who shot Munoz has been placed on administrative leave, as per protocol.

“Any loss of life, regardless of how it happened, is devastating,” Chief Berkihiser told reporters on Sunday night. “It’s devastating for everybody involved. It’s devastating for our police department, the families and our community.”

Munoz was no stranger to the Lancaster Police Department (LPD), police said.

Officers also arrested him in March of 2019 for allegedly stabbing three adults and a child, the Patriot-News reported.

When officers arrived at the scene of that incident, they found Munoz standing out on the sidewalk, gripping a knife, according to police.

He allegedly held the blade to his own throat when he saw the officers approaching.

Munoz ignored their commands to drop the knife and attempted to retreat into a home at one point, but was tased and taken into custody on four counts of aggravated assault, the Patriot-News reported.

Officers found three adults inside the residence suffering from multiple slash and stab wounds, according to police.

They also found a 16-year-old boy who had been stabbed in the face, ankle, thigh, and torso, the Patriot-News reported.

The stabbing victims all survived the attack, according to the Gateway Pundit.

It is unclear what became of the charges Munoz faced in connection with the 2019 assaults.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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