Four Philadelphia police officers were hurt Tuesday afternoon in an altercation that involved a hit-and-run driver who was ultimately shot by an officer, according to investigators.
The pursuit involved at least three locations and began shortly after 2 p.m. Police received a radio call at 2:17 p.m. reporting a car accident on Wagner and Olney avenues.
When the officer arrived at the location he saw a burgundy Chrysler that had crashed into a wall. The officer then called for assistance to help him get the driver, identified as 46-year-old Rudolph Keitt, out of the vehicle. Police say Keitt appeared to be incoherent. They also believe he struck several cars and nearly hit several pedestrians before striking the wall.
More officers arrived at the scene and took Keitt out of the Chrysler. Suddenly Keitt began fighting the officers, leading to a struggle, according to investigators. Keitt then allegedly went back into the car and took off. Video obtained by NBC10 shows the speeding car strike the officers. Officials say three officers in all were hit at that location.
Police say Keitt continued driving and soon arrived at Stenton and Ogontz avenues where he allegedly struck a fourth officer that had arrived at the scene. Police say two other officers then opened fire, striking Keitt at least once in the chest.
Officials say Keitt then continued driving until police caught up to him about two miles away at 1900 Colonial Street. He was arrested and taken to Einstein Hospital where he is currently in critical condition.
Church elder Reginald Macon was across the street with women and children inside Mount Airy Church of God in Christ Ministries. He heard the gunshots.
"My chair is at the window. When I looked outside, there were two young lades running up the steps. I guess they heard it too," Macon said, adding he saw police come in and block off the street right near Crown Fried Chicken.
The church went into lockdown mode. A childcare center on Ogontz Avenue with 44 children inside was also placed on lockdown.
Police initially told NBC10 that six officers were struck by the suspect but later said there were four in all. The injured officers were taken to Einstein and later released. All of the officers are from the 35th District.
Records show Keitt has an extensive criminal background including charges of aggravated assault, carrying firearms without a license, simple assault, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and other offenses.
Brian Mildenberg, an attorney who represented the mother of Brandon Tate-Brown, released a statement Tuesday night denying allegations that Keitt intentionally struck the officers with his vehicle or attacked them.
"The family wants the public to know, in response, that Mr. Keitt was prone recently to heart attacks and has a history of medical conditions including seizures," Mildenberg wrote.
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Mildenberg says a family friend was with Keitt at the time of the incident.
"According to her, Mr. Keitt’s eyes were in the back of his head and he was involuntarily twitching, having a major seizure, and begun to drive erratically and not respond to her verbally," Mildenberg wrote. "They had just finished getting sandwiches. She exited the vehicle after it hit the first wall and sought assistance."
The family friend said Keitt wasn't coherent or acting consciously during the entire ordeal.
"The family believes that no criminal activity occurred today, but that the entire incident was due to his medical condition," Mildenberg wrote.
Mildenberg also urged on the family's behalf for police and the public to not "rush to judgment in this case."