Man, 23, shot by off-duty cop in N.E. Philly

Britney Britton, left, talks with police Monday after an off-duty police officer shot her boyfriend, Josh Taylor. (Joseph Kaczmarek / For the Daily News & Inquirer)

A 23-year-old man was shot in the chest by an off-duty police officer in Northeast Philadelphia earlier today.

Residents and police officials told dramatically different versions of what unfolded on Worth Street near Margaret shortly before 4 p.m.

Police said the off-duty cop, whose name was not released, was helping a relative move into a house on the block when he noticed Josh Taylor walk in and out of a house on the street while carrying a handgun.

The officer exchanged words with Taylor and opened fire when Taylor allegedly pointed the weapon at him, said police spokesman Lt. Ray Evers. A handgun was found at the scene, he said.  Taylor was admitted to Aria Hospital-Torresdale in critical condition.

Britney Britton, Taylor's girlfriend, said that was not at all how the incident unfolded. She claimed that Taylor ran into the couple's house and fell to the ground after he apparently had words with the off-duty cop.

Seconds later, she said, the cop allegedly opened the couple's front door, stepped inside and wounded Taylor while his son, 3, and daughter, 1, were standing behind him.

"He [the off-duty] opened the door like he was welcome in our house," Britton said. "He didn't have a badge. He didn't have a warrant. He took a breath, looked at me, and shot Josh. And then he turned and ran."

Neighbors said they saw Taylor stagger out of his house. "He pulled off his shirt and said, 'Mrs. Lawless! He shot me! I can't breath!'" said Carole Lawless, 52, who lives across the street from Taylor.

The off-duty cop, an 18-year veteran of the force who works in West Philly's 18th District, was being interviewed tonight by Internal Affairs investigators and will be placed on desk duty, Evers said.