Every Philadelphia police shooting since 2013, and how we compare nationally

12 people were killed by police in 2013. In the three years since, seven people have been killed.

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A Philadelphia police officer last fatally shot someone just after midnight on May 4 in Overbrook. According to a police report, plainclothes officers were called to investigate a suspicious Dodge Caravan operated by a man later identified as 52-year-old Richard Ferretti.

When police surrounded him, according to the report, Feretti accelerated at two officers in front of him. One officer opened fire and killed him. According to the department’s use of force rules, officers are prohibited from firing at a vehicles unless someone in the vehicle is “threatening the officer with deadly force by means other than the vehicle.” The investigation is still open.

It was like several incidents highlighted across the country in recent weeks: A police officer killing a man in murky circumstances.

The good news is these incidents have been happening far less often in Philadelphia than they once did. And this year officer-involved shootings are on pace to be about the same as last year, even as overall shootings and murders in Philly are on the rise. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers of police shootings in Philly, where they happen and details about recent police-involved shootings that led to someone’s death.

A major decline in police-involved shootings

The drop coincides with a review on deadly force ordered by former police commissioner Charles Ramsey, undertaken by the Department of Justice, of the department’s use of deadly force. That review was completed in 2015, and the DOJ criticized the department’s training. It found officers were shooting mostly black men at times when they felt they were in danger but did not need to use deadly force.

The number of incidents of police shooting at offenders occurred even as more offenders were shooting at police in 2015 compared to 2013.

The geography

The most police-involved shootings in 2014 and 2015 took place in North Philly, followed by West Philly and then the Northeast.

No charges, and only one violation

Since 2013, out of 104 shooting incidents, no officer has been involved in wounding or killing someone has been charged by the District Attorney’s office. Only one incident has led to what the department considers a violation, although several cases are still under review.

The one case that led to a violation was from July 21, 2013. An officer chased down a man who was reported to have a gun. When the officer told him to raise his hands, according to the report, the man reached behind his back, and the officer shot him. No gun was found.

Late last year, Ramsey called for the state police to be the primary investigators for officer-involved shootings in Philly.

A breakdown of deaths

Police shootings that have led to deaths has dropped even further than officer-involved shootings the last couple of years. In 2013, there were 12 fatal police shootings. That number decreased to four in 2014, two in 2015 and one so far this year.

Here’s another way to look at it: In May 2013, five people were killed by police. In 2015 and 2016, three people have been killed.

Most of these deaths have involved suspects who were armed and, according to police reports, were threatening the officers.

Here’s a breakdown of every fatal police shooting since 2013, with details coming from the police report. Race was not given on the available reports.

January 4, 2013, 2500 Sydenham:

Weapon: No

Review Board Decision: No violations

Details: Officers followed a suspect wanted for home invasion with a weapon. One officer chased him into an alleyway, and observed the suspect to reach into his waist area and turn. The officer shot and killed him. 

March 7, 2013, 5600 Lebanon Avenue:

Weapon: Gun

Review Board: No violations

Details: Officers were attempting to make a pedestrian stop when the suspect fled and later fired at the officers.

April 27, 2013, near Arrott Transportation Center:

Weapon: Gun

Review Board: No violations

Details: A man who skipped his cab fare fled from police and pulled out a weapon and pointed at them.

April 29, 2013, 300 W. Courtland Street:

Weapon: 16-inch knife

Review Board: No violations

Details: Police responded to a call of a screaming man who had a knife and found the man threatening a woman with it. He then came toward the police officers and did not drop the knife as ordered and was shot and killed.

May 9, 2013, 7100 Paschall Avenue:

Weapon: Gun

Review Board: Not scheduled

Details: Police attempted to stop a pedestrian who fled while flashing a gun. The man attempted to throw the gun on top of a church’s roof but it fell back down, and he pointed it at an officer. He was shot by two officers.

May 22, 2013, Devon and Locust Streets:

Weapon: Gun

Review board: Not scheduled

Details: Police responded to a call of a man with a weapon. After chasing him after him, an officer observed the man pull what appeared to be a gun from his waist and shot him dead.

May 22, 2013, 5600 Wyalusing:

Weapon: Gun

Review Board: No violations

Details: Police responded to a call of a male with a gun. They chased after him and after he bounced between two cars turned and aimed his gun at the officers. Two officers shot him.

May 25, 2013, Robbins Street and Castor Avenue:

Weapon: Knife

Review Board: No violations

Details: Police responded to a report of a man with a knife. They chased after him in a car and struck him to the ground. He got back up and came at the officers with a knife. When he did not answer their calls to stop, two officers shot him.

May 29, 2013, 4500 Wayne Avenue:

Weapon: Gun

Review Board: Not scheduled

Police were looking for curfew violators and came upon three males in a car. Two of them ran away from the car, and a third started firing at them as they ran. After refusing officers’ orders to stop, an officer shot and killed him.

July 22, 2013, 200 Montana Street:

Weapon: Gun

Review Board: No violations

Details: Officers and federal agents were after two wanted men. One of them pulled out a handgun and began firing. The officers fired back, killing one and injuring the other.

July 28, 2013, 5500 Lansdowne Avenue:

Weapon: Gun

Review Board: Not scheduled

Details: Officers responded to a fight. A man fled and pulled out a gun while running and turned toward the officer. The officer shot and killed him.

August, 20, 2013, 2200 Glenwood Avenue:

Weapon: Gun

Review Board: Not scheduled

Details: Police attempted to pull over a car which took off as soon as they exited their police car. After catching up with the car, an officer went to the passenger side window and ordered the man to show his hands. The man pointed a gun and the officer shot and killed him.

February 4, 2014, 1300 Hellerman Street:

Weapon: No

Review Board: Referred to PBI

Details: A police officer was searching a man who had allegedly committed a robbery and they got into a fight. The officer twice tried to use his taser and pepper spray but to no effect. After the man began banging the officer’s head into the ground, the officer shot and killed him.

August 1, 2014, 900 Wakeling Street:

Weapon: Gun

Review Board: Pending

Officers arrived at the scene of a burglary. After confronting a man, he held a gun to the head of one the officers. The other officer shot and killed the man.

August 19, 2014, 6500 Torresdale:

Weapon: Gun

Review Board: Pending

Details: Police responded to a call for a man with a gun, who proceeded to fire at an officer. Multiple officers shot him, killing him.

December 15, 2014, 6600 Frankford Avenue:

Weapon: Gun

Review Board: Pending

Details: This is the Brandon Tate-Brown incident. Police pulled him over for not having his headlights on. After making him get out of the car, a fight ensued and police saw him reach for his waistband and then go to the passenger side of the car where police had seen a gun. One of the officers shot and killed him.

June 4, 2015, 6900 Rising Sun Avenue:

Weapon: Gun with blanks

Review Board: No violations

Details: Two men entered a restaurant and announced a robbery. An off-duty detective pulled his gun at them and announced he was an officer. The man then fired his blank, and the detective fired back, killing him.

July 22, 2015, 800 Riverside Drive:

Weapon: Gun

Review Board: No violations

Details: SWAT officers went to execute a warrant for a man wanted for murder. The man immediately started firing on the officers, hitting one. The officer struck by the man returned fire and killed him.    

May 4, 2016, 6300 Overbrook Avenue:

Weapon: No

Review Board: Not scheduled

Details: Officers after a suspicious car ordered it to stop and said the man accelerated toward them. One officer shot and killed the driver.  


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