Plainclothes Officer Kills Man who Tried to Hit Police Car

The man allegedly hit some plainclothes officers while trying to flee a traffic stop before he was killed.

A man who allegedly hit plainclothes officers with his car while trying to flee a traffic stop Wednesday night in Northwest Philadelphia was shot and killed by one of the officers, officials said.

The man was unarmed and turned out not to be the subject of a homicide investigation that initially prompted officers to pull him over, First Deputy Commissioner Myron Patterson said at a press conference Thursday.

Police identified the man as Dennis Plowden, 25, of the 1600 block of E. Walnut Lane. They released a more detailed account of the incident a few hours after Patterson's press conference.

James Ham
Dennis Plowden

According to police, the incident began just after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday on Ogontz Avenue, when the plainclothed officers saw a 2013 Hyundai that was wanted in connection with a homicide earlier this month.

At 16th Street and Nedro Avenue, the man stopped his car, police said. A woman was in the front passenger seat.

As the officers got out of their unmarked car, Plowden accelerated the Hyundai, striking the police car and "contacting the officer," the police statement read. Plowden drove off.

Officers found his Hyundai shortly afterward with "extensive damage" and saw several other cars with damage, according to the police statement. Plowden got out of the car and tried to run away; he did not respond to officer commands to show his hands, police said.

Plowden was on the sidewalk when he put his hand in his pocket, police said. One officer fired and shot him in the head, police said. He was pronounced dead Thursday morning at Albert Einstein Medical Center. 

Plowden's family was left trying to make sense of the shooting. 

"Why did you shoot this man in his head?" asked his wife, Tania Bond. "He was unarmed. He was not dangerous."

Witnesses told NBC10 that they heard the officers shouting commands, and that they also heard Plowden saying he was hurt.

Plowden was a father of two. He did not have a gun, investigators said.

One police officer was transported to Temple University Hospital for injuries to his right arm and hand, police said. He was treated and released. The woman in the car suffered bruises and abrasions from the crash.

The officers involved in the shooting have not yet been identified, though Patterson said Thursday that they would be within 72 hours.

Homicide detectives are investigating the shooting, Patterson said.

Mayor Jim Kenney issued a statement about the incident Thursday night.

"My prayers are with the family and friends of Dennis Plowden," Kenney's statement read. "It is always tragic to lose someone you love. I am relieved there were no serious injuries to the officer or to the other passenger in the car."

Kenney said the city's Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit would do a full investigation. "I look forward to them coming to a speedy resolution for the sake of Mr. Plowden, his family, the officers and for Philadelphia."

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