Family: Off-Duty Officer Killed an Innocent Man

Philadelphia police are investigating a deadly shooting involving an off-duty officer Saturday night in the city’s Port Richmond section.

Investigators said it happened on the 2700 block of Elkhart Street around 11p.m. when a large fight broke out involving two groups of people.

Police said an off-duty civil affairs officer was attending a family function at his house when he went outside to break up the fight. Police said he was assaulted and discharged his weapon once shooting 21-year-old William "Billy" Panas in the chest.

Panas was taken to Temple University Hospital were he later died.

Investigators said the off-duty officer identified himself as a police officer and that his gun went off during an altercation.

But family members disagree.  They said Panas was trying to actually break up a fight when he was shot in the chest by the off-duty officer.

"They just shot him right in the chest at point blank range for no reason. I just want justice for my son," said Bill Panas, Sr.

Friends who were with Panas the night of the shooting said the argument started over a fight between the Panas and the off-duty officer's son.

"The officer's son started a problem with Billy. They began to fight. As the fight was breaking up I was going to pick my friend up from the ground and the officer pulled a gun out and was waving it around in my face, he told me to back up.  He then pointed the gun at Billy and shot him at point blank range in the chest," said Anthony Pickler.

The friends said the officer never identified himself.  But police say the officer, whose name has not been released, did say he was an officer.

Family and friends held a vigil for Panas where the shooting happened Sunday night.

Philadelphia internal affairs are investigating the shooting.  The officer has been placed on desk duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

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