Pizza Delivery Man Shot by 2 Philadelphia Police Officers

The officers were not in their uniforms. "It appears to be unfortunate for both the officers and this person," police say.

By Karen Araiza
|  Thursday, May 8, 2014  |  Updated 1:19 AM EDT
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Police Explain Shooting of Pizza Deliveryman

April 22, 2014: Philippe Holland, 20, was shot in the head by two Philadelphia police officers who were not in uniform. Howard was delivering pizza in the same neighborhood where the officers were responding to reports of gunfire. Investigators say Howard thought he was being robbed and the officers thought Howard was about to run them down with his car.

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Police Explain Shooting of Pizza Deliveryman

A pizza deliveryman was shot in the head last night by two Philly police officers who were not in uniform. Here is why police think it happened, according to Philadelphia Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross.
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A pizza delivery man is showing improvement in his recovery two weeks after he was shot by two Philadelphia police officers that he may have thought were fake cops.

On Wednesday a spokesperson for the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania announced that Philippe Holland is currently in good condition.

Holland was shot by two police officers back on April 22. Those officers told police investigators they believed the young man was about to run them down in his Ford Taurus.

"At this time it just appears to be unfortunate for both the officers and this person," said Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross, describing what police believe happened.

Holland was delivering pizza for Slices and More Pizzeria and Grill in Upper Darby. It's his night job, according to his boss, Tony Spirokostas.

"He had two jobs. He had a day job at the airport; was going to school at Delaware County," said Spirokostas, who describes Holland as quiet, humble, respectful and hard-working.

Holland's delivery was near 51st Street and Willows Avenue in the Kingsessing section of the city, just before 10 p.m. At that same time, the two officers -- who were not in uniform -- came to the neighborhood after hearing gunshots.

"They responded to gunshots. They're surveying the area and they see this male walking with a hoodie," Ross said. "He's got his hands in his pocket and at that time, they order him to stop, and identify themselves."

Ross said police think it is possible that Holland did not hear the officers identify themselves, or that he may have thought they were fake cops.

"We believe, unfortunately, that he also is of the belief that he is being robbed," Ross said.

At that point, police say Holland got back in his car and started to back up.

"And at that time, he's in his vehicle and he proceeds toward them. They [the officers] believe they're being run over. And they fire their weapon," Ross said.

Holland was shot in the leg, the neck and the head. He was listed in critical condition for several weeks at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania prior to Wednesday's announcement.

The 12th District officers have been taken off the street, which is standard procedure, while their case is investigated by the Internal Affairs division of the Philadelphia Police Department.

"Unfortunately, it just appears like it's a set of circumstances that no one could have predicted and we're just hopeful that this male survives," Ross said.

In the Upper Darby neighborhood where Holland lives, neighbor Roy Taylor said he is praying that Holland returns home healthy and soon.

"It's awful. It's a shame. He's a great person. Good neighbor. Do anything for you," Taylor said. "When I heard, I just couldnt' believe it."

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