Philadelphia Police ID Off-Duty Officer Who Killed Man Suspected of Running Down Pedestrian

Philadelphia Police Detective James Powell shot & killed Khalil Lawal on Jan. 29, 2018.

Police have identified the Philadelphia police officer who shot and killed a Virginia man, who police say intentionally struck a pedestrian with his car and then attacked the off-duty officer who confronted him, as a 23-year veteran investigator.

Detective James Powell, who is assigned to External Services was off duty when he came into contact with Khalil Lawal along Bigler Street near Broad Street around 7:30 a.m. Monday.

Lawal, 31, was driving a black Honda Civic south on Broad near Marconi Plaza when he made a left onto Bigler Street and apparently intentionally struck a man who was exiting his parked car, investigators said.

Lawal continued driving east on Bigler before making a U-turn and returning toward the intersection of Broad and Bigler near Marconi Plaza, investigators said.

As the Arlington, Virginia man approached the intersection, a Good Samaritan used his truck to block his path, investigators said. The Good Samaritan told Lawal he had struck a pedestrian. Lawal then allegedly chased the Good Samaritan on foot before walking back to his Honda.

Powell saw the incident play out. He approached Lawal as the suspect walked back to his car and identified himself as an officer as drew his department-issued firearm, police said.

The detective told Lawal to get on the ground, investigators said.  Lawal, who was around 6-foot tall and weighed around 250 pounds, charged at Powell, according to surveillance video obtained by police.

"They got into a violent struggle where the male struck the detective several times," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross.

Several shots were fired during the struggle as Lawal tried to disarm the officer, investigators said.

"All we heard was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. A lot of shots," a witness told NBC10. "And people running and scurrying around. It was really scary. There was even a baby seat in the car so that was scary too."

Lawal, who police don't believe was armed, was shot in the torso, legs and face during the scuffle. He died a few hours later at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.

The officer was taken to another hospital and treated for head and shoulder injuries. He was later released. The pedestrian who was struck by the suspect's vehicle was also treated at the hospital and later released.

Powell was placed on administrative leave.

Police have said they have no plan to release surveillance video that is part of the investigation. 

Ross said that he had "concerns" about the incident. 

"I do have some concerns about the shooting, in particular whether all the shots were necessary," Ross said Tuesday. "Right now we're canvassing the neighborhood for more video and additional witnesses."

Ross also addressed initial reports that Lawal was targeting multiple pedestrians with his car.

"Right now we have not been able to confirm this at all," Ross said. "The only thing we know is of this one incident at this point in time that we are still investigating."

Police don't believe the incident was a case of domestic terrorism.

If you have any information on the incident, please call Philadelphia Police at 216-683-1866.

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