Walter Wallace shooting in Philadelphia: 30 officers injured protests


Police shot and killed a 27-year-old Black man on a Philadelphia street Monday afternoon after yelling at him to drop his knife, authorities say.

AP Domestic

Police in Philadelphia said 30 officers were injured during violent protests Monday night that broke out after police fatally shot a 27-year-old Black man who authorities said had a knife.

More than 300 people marched through the streets of Philadelphia late Monday into early Tuesday to protest the shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., whose shooting was captured on video. Dozens of officers were injured with rocks, bricks and other projectiles, and a 56-year-old female officer was hit by a pickup truck and hospitalized with a broken leg, WCAU-TV reported.

A police car was set on fire and officers used batons to push crowds back, according to video shared on social media. The crowd then largely dispersed.

Several businesses were looted and about 10 people were arrested, mostly on looting charges.

The protest comes after months of demonstrations against police violence and racial injustice in the city and across the country that broke out in May when George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Police fatally shoot Walter Wallace after yelling at him to drop knife

The shooting occurred before 4 p.m. Monday as officers responded to a report of a person with a weapon, police spokesperson Tanya Little said.

Officers were called to Cobbs Creek, a predominantly Black neighborhood in west Philadelphia. They encountered the man, later identified as Wallace, who was holding a knife, Little said. 

Officers ordered Wallace to drop the knife, but he instead “advanced toward” them. Both officers then fired “several times,” Little said.

Wallace was hit in the shoulder and chest. One of the officers then put Wallace in a police vehicle and drove him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later, Little said.

No officers or bystanders were injured in the incident, Little said. The names of the officers who fired the shots were not immediately disclosed, and their races weren’t immediately confirmed.

Both were wearing body cameras and were taken off street duty pending further investigation.


Police said the victim, Walter Wallace Jr., “advanced towards” officers with a knife, but it’s not clear in bystander video.


Walter Wallace: Philadelphia police fatally shoot Black man after yelling at him to drop knife in recorded incident

Bystander video captures fatal confrontation

Video of the shooting was taken by a bystander and shared on social media by nationally known civil rights attorney Ben Crump. The footage shows two officers pointing their guns at Wallace and yelling at him to put his knife down. 

As Wallace walks around the street toward the officers, they back away from him and continue to aim their weapons at him. Both officers fire multiple shots; at least 10 gunshots can be heard. The camera pans away as gunfire erupts, but Wallace appears to be several feet away from the officers before he falls to the ground. 

A woman, identified by family members as Wallace’s mother, runs to him screaming at officers as a crowd gathers around him.

It is unclear in the video whether Wallace had a knife. Witnesses said he was holding one.

Wallace’s father, Walter Wallace Sr., told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the younger Wallace was on medication and had struggled with mental health issues.

“Why didn’t they use a taser?” he asked. “His mother was trying to defuse the situation.”

More: Police have shot people experiencing a mental health crisis. Who should you call instead?

Investigation into shooting is underway, officials say

Police commissioner Danielle M. Outlaw said she has ordered an investigation into the shooting and that the inquiry would  address questions raised by the video. Outlaw added that she planned to speak with Wallace’s family.

“While at the scene this evening, I heard and felt the anger of the community,” she said in a statement. “Everyone involved will forever be impacted.”

District attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement that his office would conduct a joint investigation of the shooting along with the police department’s Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation Unit. He urged witnesses to contact his office.

“We intend to go where the facts and law lead us and to do so carefully, without rushing to judgment and without bias of any kind,” he said. 

Mayor Jim Kenney said he had watched “the video of this tragic incident” and spoke with Wallace’s family.

City Council member Jamie Gauthier called the shooting a “downright tragedy” and,  in a statement, demanded accountability. She said police should immediately release the body camera footage of the incident.

“Had these officers valued the life of this Black man – had they treated him as a person experiencing mental health issues, instead of a criminal –we might be spared our collective outrage at yet another injustice at the hands of police,” Gauthier said. 

Contributing: The Associated Press

Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg


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