Relatives of a Black Philadelphia man fatally shot by police questioned why deadly force was used, hours after his death sparked a round of overnight protests that saw dozens arrested and 30 officers injured.
Authorities responded to the Cobbs Creek neighborhood in West Philadelphia just before 4 p.m. Monday over reports of someone with a weapon, said Officer Tanya Little, a Philadelphia police spokesperson.
Officials said Walter Wallace Jr., 27, was armed with a knife and charged at two officers, prompting them to open fire. Video of the incident posted to social media by a bystander appears to show the officers pointing their guns at Wallace while ordering him to drop the weapon.
Wallace was around a car and toward the officers, who were backing away when shots rang out.
Wallace's father, Walter Wallace Sr., told the Philadelphia Inquirer his son was shot 10 times. He said his son struggled with mental health issues.
“Why didn’t they use a Taser?” the elder Wallace asked.
Wallace's aunt, who identified herself only as Sandy, told Fox News that her nephew had recently gotten married and had several children, ages 5, 7 and 8.
"He was turning his life around," she said. "They could have talked to him and calmed him down because I'm quite sure that's part of their training."
Rodney Everett, Wallace's uncle, said the officers could have used other tactics to de-escalate the situation.
"If that's what the police training is, then there is no police training. You can't keep saying you're training these people and they keep doing the same thing" he told Fox News, referring to the police shooting of Black men.
Wallace's cousin, Anthony Fitzhugh, denounced the officers' actions and accused the police of escalating the situation, according to the Inquirer.
“I understand he had a knife, and their job is to protect and serve," Fitzhugh said. "By all means do so, but do not let lethal force be the means by which you de-escalate the situation. You could have still kept you gun drawn while another officer tased him.”
Another cousin, Sam White, 53, said the family is reeling from watching a video of the shooting and the unrest that followed.
“A young man is dead, killed by police officers who were supposed to protect and serve,” White said. “The whole block is traumatized.”
Wallace's death was followed by violent protests overnight as hundreds gathered in the streets and outside a city police station Monday night. More than 90 people were arrested and 30 police officers were injured, including an officer who was "intentionally run over" by a pickup truck, officials said.
The 56-year-old officer suffered a broken leg and other injuries when struck by the pickup, authorities said.
Police vehicles and dumpsters were set ablaze as authorities struggled to contain the unrest and several businesses were damaged.
"We're not condoning that because none of those stores had anything to do with what happened," Everett said. "Tearing our city up isn't going to solve the problem."
In a statement, John McNesby, president of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, said Monday that officers were being "vilified" for "doing their job and keeping the community safe."
"We support and defend these officers, as they too are traumatized by being involved in a fatal shooting," he said.
Calls to McNesby from Fox News were not immediately returned. The Philadelphia Police Department will beef up its presence Tuesday in anticipation of more unrest, officials said.