Cop Involved in Off-Duty Shooting Suspended

Decision comes day after neighborhood march for justice

Philadelphia Police have terminated an officer who allegedly killed a man during a fight outside his home.

Sgt. Frank Tepper was "suspended with intent to dismiss" Monday as Internal Affairs officers closed their investigation into the shooting death of William "Billy" Panas, Jr., officials said.

Panas, 21, was shot by Tepper during a fight outside the officer's Port Richmond home on Nov. 21, according to investigators.

The officer, who was off-duty at the time, claimed his gun went off after being jumped while trying to break up the melee. But witnesses provided a far different chain of events, saying the cop simply pulled out his gun and shot the man as he tried to get up off the ground.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said Tepper was fired for violating several department policies including unauthorized use of his firearm, failing to call 9-1-1 for help in the matter and refusal to cooperate with the investigation.

"Those three things, in my opinion, rose to a level where dismissal was the appropriate action," Ramsey said.

Tepper, a 16-year veteran of the police force who was last part of the Civil Affairs Unit, was cited in the past by Internal Affairs investigators for "unprofessional" behavior that violated the department's conduct policy.

An investigation over whether there was any criminal wrongdoing is still in the hands of a grand jury. New Philadelphia D.A. Seth Williams said Monday that he planned to address the case in the coming days.

Panas' family has led a vocal charge asking prosecutors to bring criminal charges against Tepper.

"When I heard the news today...I was like finally something to be started," Bill Panas, Sr. said. "This is only the start of him being arrested and convicted of executing our son."

The family and hundreds of neighborhood residents marched for justice near the scene of the shooting Sunday.

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