Philadelphia Police Officer Shoots Suspect in Head During Deadly Struggle

Police claim man was reaching for a loaded handgun when officers opened fire

The family of a man shot in the head and killed by a Philadelphia police officer sought answers in the hours after the deadly incident during a traffic stop in the city’s Mayfair section.

The deadly gunshot rang out around 2:45 a.m. along the 6600 block of Frankford Avenue after police said the suspect reached for a loaded handgun — stolen last year — in his rental car.

"I would like to know why the police, law enforcement, has the right to kill instead of disabling," the victim's mother Tanya Dickerson said. "It has to stop, this is enough already."

Dickerson later identified her son Brandon Tate-Brown as gunshot victim.

Dickerson said that her son served five years in prison for aggravated assault stemming from a 2007 beating where he was charged with attempted murder. She said that since his release from prison, Tate-Brown was trying to get his life back on track — working at a rental car place — being a "good guy."

She said she last saw her son just hours earlier after the Eagles game.

An initial investigation showed that two officers — recent hires in the 15th District — pulled over a white Dodge Charger rental car outside a foot doctor’s office because the vehicle didn't have its headlights on, said police.

"We had two officers in a marked vehicle in full uniform that did approach a car," said Cpt. George Fuchs.

Police noticed a Taurus .22 caliber, SAP, handgun protruding from the center console and asked the 26-year-old driver to exit the vehicle, police said. A struggle ensued and investigators said the man forced his way back into the car and was grabbing for the loaded weapon.

One officer opened fire, striking the victim in the head.

The officers called medics who arrived and loaded Tate-Brown into an ambulance but he died a short time later.

Police remained on the scene — closing Frankford Avenue from Magee to Unruh avenues until nearly 7 a.m. — as they searched for clues. They found eight bullets in the gun, which investigators say was stolen in July 2013.

Beside the aggravated assault charge, Tate-Brown also pleaded guilty to weapons charges during his 2008 trial for attempted murder, according to court records.

The officer who fired the shot gave his statement to police while his partner was hospitalized after becoming stressed by the incident.

Police said the officer who fired would be placed on desk duty while an internal investigation is carried out.

Dickerson said Tate-Brown's family contacted the NAACP to also investigate the case.

This is the 26th officer-involved shooting so far this year in Philly and the 4th deadly police-involved shooting.

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