Homeless man shot after threatening cops

July 3, 2009 2:17:25 PM PDT
A homeless man was killed by police gunfire Friday morning in Center City Philadelphia.It happened just before 8:30 a.m. at the east concourse of the Municipal Services Building in the 1400 Block of JFK.

That is right across from City Hall.

Police say the homeless man, who has not yet been identified, was tinkering with a call box in the underground concourse.

A Center City officer, who apparently knew the man, asked him to stop. Police say the man turned around and pulled a utility knfe.

A 9th District officer arrived for backup, and for three minutes they tried to get him to drop the knife.

Eventually, investigators say, the man lunged at the officers with the knife.

Both officers fired their weapons, hitting the man at least once in the torso. Four shots were fired.

The man was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9:02 a.m.

A construction worker who was on his coffee break heard the gunshots.

"We thought it was something at the job site," said Rob Markegene. "We stood up, looked, and saw everyone come running saying 'There's guns, there's shooting, the cops shot somebody."

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey was at the scene getting briefed by his officers. Internal Affairs is now investigating this shooting.

However, the District Attorney's office will have make the ultimate decision about whether this shooting was justified.

Both officers involved in shooting have been placed on desk duty as the official investigation goes forward.

Both are also 20-year plus veterans of the police force. One of them had the primary assignment of working on the concourse and deal with the homeless community.

The underground corridors around City Hall and suburban station attract homeless adults at nighttime. Sources say the homeless man killed had been in the area about 3 weeks

That officer is described as deeply upset by what he apparently had to do this morning.

The area where the shooting happened would have been busy on any other weekday. However, with many being off for Independence Day, the crowd was light.

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