On Monday afternoon, police officers arrived at Walter Wallace Jr.’s West Philadelphia rowhome for a third time that day. Relatives said he was having “another one of his episodes.”
In the past, when emotions ran high, the aspiring rapper and father of eight could be pacified with the mention of his young children or a song he liked. But Wallace, 27, grappled with mental illness, including bipolar disorder, and had been going to therapy as recently as last week, said Anthony Fitzhugh, a cousin.
“Whenever I’ve been around and he was having an episode, I’ve always been able to say, ‘Little cuz, little cuz, come on,'” Fitzhugh said. “It might take him a second, but if you know the things that will de-escalate, like he loves music, he loves his kids. When you start talking about these kinds of things … sometimes it’s easier to de-escalate whatever he may be