Ramsey fires cop involved in Port Richmond shooting

A makeshift memorial for fatal shooting victim 21-year-old William Panas Jr. (inset) of Cedar Street. (Alejandra A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer)

Frank Tepper, the Philadelphia police officer who allegedly fatally shot an unarmed Port Richmond man during a neighborhood dispute in November, has been suspended with the intent to dismiss, police officials said.

Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey based his decision to fire Tepper on information gathered by Internal Affairs detectives who investigated the Nov. 21 incident, police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said. 

Last month, then-District Attorney Lynne Abraham opted to let a grand jury decide if Tepper, 43, should face criminal charges for the Nov. 21 incident. The grand jury has not yet made a ruling in the case.

Fraternal Order of Police president John McNesby said the city's new district attorney, Seth Williams, might want to review the case before the grand jury makes a decision. "We'll respond accordingly," McNesby said.


Should Officer Frank Tepper face charges in the shooting death of William Panas Jr.?

Police have said that Tepper was attacked when he tried to break up a street fight outside his home on Elkhart Street near Edgemont, causing him to fire a fatal shot into the chest of William "Billy" Panas Jr, 21.

Neighbors contended that the fight actually involved members of Tepper's family. The residents also claimed that Tepper was visibly intoxicated and shot the unarmed Panas after the two men exchanged words.

Panas' father, William Panas Sr., said he was "delighted" by the news of Tepper's firing.

"I just got a call from Mr. Ramsey a few minutes ago, telling me they fired him [Tepper] because he didn't follow any procedures that night," Panas said."It doesn't help bring my son back, but it'll save other children."