Former Philadelphia police officer charged with murder after fatal shooting in Hunting Park

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Fmr. Philly cop charged with murder after Hunting Park shooting
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Fmr. Philly cop charged with murder after Hunting Park shooting. Vernon Odom reports during Action News at 4pm on September 4, 2018.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A former Philadelphia police officer has been charged with first-degree murder following a shooting last year.

In June of 2017, Ryan Pownall was involved in the deadly shooting of 32-year-old David Jones in Hunting Park.

Jones was on his dirtbike and allegedly committing traffic violations when he was pulled over by Pownall.

There was a confrontation, and District Attorney Larry Krasner said during a news conference on Tuesday that Pownall attempted to shoot Jones, but his gun jammed.

He says Jones tossed his own gun to the ground and began to run away.

"Video recovered from the scene shows Jones was unarmed, and he never turned toward Pownall or gestured in a threatening manner during his flight," Krasner said.

Pownall fired at least three shots toward Jones and nearby traffic, Krasner said, hitting Jones twice in the back, killing him.

Krasner says Jones' gun was recovered by investigators about 25 feet in the opposite direction from where he was shot.

In announcing his dismissal last September, Commissioner Richard Ross said other errors committed by Pownall included stopping Jones with witnesses present in his patrol car and failing to notify police dispatch that he was stopping Jones in the first place.

Black Lives Matter activists held up a mock wanted poster of Pownall as they hailed Krasner's announcement.

"Ryan Pownall murdered David Jones, but Ryan Pownall was viciously enabled by the system here, by the local government," said Christopher Norris.

But the Fraternal Order of Police and Pownall's family members slammed Krasner and decried the charges.

"We believe first-degree murder is absolutely absurd in this case," said FOP Lodge #5 President John McNesby. "We're going to stand with his wife, Tina, his children, as well as every officer out there today, and in the 15th District, and citywide, to make sure they get what's needed and to that he's eventually brought home in the coming days."

Pownall's brother, Edward, said his family is "horribly saddened and disturbed."

"He loves being an officer. He's a great person," Edward Pownall said.

Pownall has turned himself into police. If convicted, Pownall could face the death sentence or life in prison without parole.

Pownell's attorney said he acted according to the letter of the law, several people Action News encountered agreed.

"I think the police officers should be respected for what they do," said Lauren Pulliam of Southwest Philadelphia. "The job they provide, it's very necessary and they're just doing the best they can."

Since January, the DA's office has investigated 19 officer-involved shootings, 7 involving injury or fatality with three of those civilians killed by on-duty officers.

"At least people are thinking this has been going on for too long, and someone needs to step up and do something about it," said Camille Claiborne of Mt. Airy. "It's a sad case in general. You never want to see anyone get shot and killed, but at least the case is being heard and there are charges being brought."


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