An unarmed West Philadelphia man who was shot by police late Thursday allegedly was high on angel dust when he shouted, "Shoot me! Shoot me!" at officers responding to a report of someone screaming.
Erin Williams, 30, of Alden Street near Thompson, was charged with drug possession and domestic violence after the 8:51 p.m. incident outside a shopping center on Lancaster Avenue near 56th Street in Overbrook.
He remained in stable condition yesterday at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital after an officer fired one round into his chest, said Chief Inspector William Colarulo of Internal Affairs.
It was the 15th police-involved shooting so far this year; those included four fatalities, Colarulo said. Last year, city police shot at 69 people, killing 22 of them, according to police data.
Thursday's drama began when two plainclothes officers responded to a radio call of a person screaming outside a dollar store there, Colarulo said.
The officers found Williams in the front passenger seat of a parked Ford Expedition apparently engaged in a dispute with his wife, he said. Other relatives inside the car - including several children - exited the car when police arrived, but Williams refused to move, Colarulo said.
He allegedly stuffed his hands into his coat pockets and refused to comply with officers' commands to show his hands, Colarulo said. Police sources said Williams' relatives pleaded with him to comply with the officers' commands, but he refused to budge from the car.
Instead, he allegedly yelled "Shoot me! Shoot me!" at the officers, who surrounded him on either side of the car.
Police sources said Williams had made a motion to indicate he was reaching for something in his waistband, prompting one officer to fire through the driver's side window. A bullet struck Williams in his stomach and lodged in his arm, sources said.
Investigators found no weapon on Williams or at the scene of the car, and sources said his relatives insisted that he had been unarmed. Cops did, however, recover narcotics from him, including PCP and marijuana, sources said.
Williams has a police record that includes more than a dozen arrests, including one for murder, according to police sources.
According to Directive 22, a document that details the Police Department's policies on the use of force, officers are required to issue verbal warnings and employ hands-on techniques before resorting to firing their weapons.
"Officers are taught that you resort to deadly force when you're in imminent danger of death or bodily injury," Colarulo said, adding that investigators haven't determined whether the involved officers faced that risk. *