This post has been updated.
Two police officers in Overbrook late Thursday night narrowly missed being shot when authorities say a man with a lengthy criminal record opened fire on them.
The cops shot back, department spokesman Lt. John Stanford said, fatally wounding the 32-year-old man, whom police identified Friday as William Washington, of Broad Street near Poplar in North Philadelphia.
Stanford gave this account of how the gunbattle unfolded:
The cops were on patrol in the area of 56th Street and Lebanon Avenue due to an increase of burglaries in the area when they spotted Washington around 10:30 p.m. carrying a bag coming out of an alley between Lebanon Avenue and Diamond Street. When one of the officers attempted to stop Washington, he took off down the 5600 block of Lebanon Avenue, leading that cop on a foot pursuit to the front steps of a house on the block. The second cop followed closely behind in a marked car.
When Washington ran up the steps to a house, the cop was able to wrestle him to the ground, Stanford said. At that point, the suspect pulled a .22-caliber Taurus revolver and fired a shot at the officer's head. The cop backed up to the curb, and Washington turned around and let off three more shots at both cops, at which point they both opened fire on him, hitting him several times, Stanford said.
Washington was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was pronounced dead at 10:57 p.m. Stanford said police recovered the man's gun, still loaded with five live rounds, at the scene.
Neither officer was injured in the shooting, Stanford said. As is protocol with police-involved shootings, they were placed on administrative duty until an Internal Affairs investigation is completed.
Stanford said Washington had 13 prior arrests, including several for violation of the Uniform Firearms Act, assault, narcotics and robberies.
"It's very fortunate for the officers," Stanford said. "You never want to take a life, but it just shows the danger these officers are in daily and the importance of getting these guns off the street and out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them."