Bensalem police officers shot and killed a man armed with a baseball bat in what they called "a domestic incident" early Saturday, and Bucks County District Attorney Diane Gibbons said last night that she could rule as early as today on whether their use of deadly force was justified.
Police said Frankie Lopez, 33, was pronounced dead at the scene after he was shot several times on a basement landing in Building 57 of Bensalem's Creekside Apartments near the Philadelphia line.
They said Lopez had charged officers with a bat as they attempted to escort his girlfriend to the apartment they had shared to retrieve personal items about 2:30 a.m. Saturday after what the district attorney termed "a domestic violence situation."
Lopez "confronted the officers and advanced towards them in a stairwell with a baseball bat attempting to kill them," police said in a one-paragraph news release. "After repeated warnings to the suspect to cease his actions, which were disregarded, officers were forced to shoot the suspect, fatally wounding him."
Six bullets were removed from the victim's body during an autopsy that determined the cause of death to be "multiple gunshot wounds," Bucks Coroner Joseph Campbell said last night.
He would not specify the number of wounds other than to say that there were considerably "more than six," and that more than one of them could have been fatal.
Four officers were involved, Gibbons said, but, reached in the car without her notes last night, she was uncertain how many had fired their weapons and how many shots were discharged overall.
Yesterday afternoon, a jagged hole in a stairwell wall was the only physical indication of the violence that had transpired at the sprawling, well-kept complex at 2500 Knights Rd., in the far southeast corner of Bensalem.
Residents walking through the drizzle said they had little information.
One man at Building 57, responding to the buzzer at the front door, yelled down from a fourth-floor window that he was at work at the time of the incident and heard about it only when he returned home.
In another apartment, a television flickered, but no one answered the security phone. What appeared to be an unmarked police cruiser with two plainclothes officers rolled by.