Two teenagers, a 15-year-old girl and 18-year-old young man, were among at least 11 people shot in an area targeted by looters during a night of unrest following the police shooting death of a Philadelphia man, police said.
It was unclear if any of the shooting victims were fatally wounded, but some of the gunfire included looters shooting at other looters in the Port Richmond neighborhood, which saw scores of people shatter windows and break into stores along Aramingo Avenue as police officers struggled to contain the chaos following the killing of Walter Wallace Jr., Philadelphia Police Department sources on the scene told NBC10.
It was also unclear, however, if the shooting of the 15-year-old girl and 18-year-old man were related to the looting Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
One of the stores targeted was a Walmart. The superstore sells bullets, many of which could be seen strewn all over the floor of the establishment. It was unclear if any of those bullets were used in the shootings around the area.
The chaotic scenes came despite denunciations by Wallace Jr.’s family.
"They're thieves, they're opportunists, and they're stealing because they have the opportunity to steal," said Wallace Jr.’s cousin, Anthony Fitzhugh. "Do not put my cousin's name on that."
Wallace Jr. was shot to death in front of his mother by two police officers Monday night in West Philadelphia in a killing that was caught on video. The 27-year-old father was holding a knife at the time and was walking toward the officers, who said he ignored commands to drop the weapon.
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Video showed his mother trying to restrain him as police opened fire from several feet away.
The slaying sparked national outrage and protests, mostly centered in Philadelphia.
Wallace Jr.’s family said the man struggled with mental health issues, and they had called for an ambulance in his moment of crisis, not for police intervention. Neither of the officers who shot the man were equipped with a stun gun at the time, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said, noting the department had previously asked for funding to equip more officers with those devices.
Family members said the officers knew he was having a mental health crisis because they had been called to the family’s house three times Monday night, the Associated Press reported.
Cathy Wallace, his mother, said one of the times, “they stood there and laughed at us.”
Police officials said they could not confirm what information had been given to the responding officers, whether they were told about a possible mental illness or how many calls they had received for help at Wallace's address Monday.
However, Chief Police Inspector Frank Vanore confirmed that police had received at least one call about a man screaming and saying that he was armed with a knife before the fatal encounter.