Brother of man killed in police-involved shooting speaks out

WEST PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The brother of a man who was shot and killed by Philadelphia police after allegedly stabbing three people spoke to Action News Saturday about the tragedy that's hit his family, and many of the questions that will likely go unanswered.

"When I heard, I was shocked. I dropped the phone," said Dan Sowell, suspect's brother.

The news was hard to believe, let alone process.

On Wednesday night, police say Dan Sowell's younger brother, Christopher Sowell, slashed his 8-year-old son's throat, then stabbed him and his 13-year-old friend. The 32-year-old would then walk a quarter of a mile to a friend's home, stab a 70 year-old and punch a 42-year-old.

"That wasn't him and it's still unreal," said Dan Sowell.

His brother would die after being shot multiple times by Philadelphia police. Officers say they were operating under the belief that Christopher Sowell was armed with a gun - his victims suffering from gunshot wounds.

Police Commissioner Richard Ross says officers confronted Sowell outside of the second home, ordered him to take his hands out of his pocket, and when he did so abruptly, nine officers fired their weapons a total of 109 times.

"It's a shame that he did it to his own kids, but in the end, it wasn't fair that the cops shot an unarmed man that many times," said Dan Sowell.

Commissioner Ross says he, too, is concerned about the number of shots fired. But believes this may have been a case of something called contagious or reactionary fire. Under high stress situations, one officer shoots and the others believe they are under fire.

The preliminary answers to Dan Sowell's questions offer little consolation. He says his brother's violent death, justified or not, will forever leave unanswered the question of "why?"

"I've seen him mad and I've seen him angry, and he never did what he did so why? I want to know why he did it," said Dan Sowell.

Police say one of the victim's say Christopher Sowell seemed to be high on drugs. That wasn't confirmed by police, and Dan Sowell couldn't say either way, but he did say his brother was going through some personal problems. There were also some family issues that may have contributed to this, but in the end the family tells us they really don't know what Christopher Sowell was going through or thinking when the incident occurred.
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.