A police official said yesterday that a man fatally shot by two officers Saturday night in Southwest Philadelphia – the fourth victim of deadly police force in 2007 – refused requests to drop his loaded .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol.
Philadelphia Police Capt. Benjamin Naish said Raheem Pridgen, 27, caught the attention of the officers on patrol in the Elmwood neighborhood because he was sitting in his car, which was running and facing the wrong direction in the 6400 block of Dicks Avenue at 6:15 p.m.
Naish said Pridgen got out of the vehicle and ran as an officer approached; the officer pursued him, a short scuffle ensued, and Pridgen pulled the weapon, refusing commands to disarm. Naish said both officers fired, hitting Pridgen once in the torso and once in the leg.
In January, police killed three men, including an unarmed 20-year-old, sparking criticism of the department and prompting calls for reform. Also killed were a man wielding a knife and a 16-year-old who witnesses said was carrying a knife.
Last year, Philadelphia police killed 20 people in the city and two elsewhere, the highest total since 1980 and the most 2006 casualties by police in the 10 largest U.S. cities, according to FBI statistics.
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