PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia police have released new details on the investigation into an officer-involved shooting they say left an armed suspect dead and one officer wounded in the city's Logan neighborhood on Wednesday.
Around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, police say two uniformed officers were patrolling the area near Broad Street and Somerville Avenue when they witnessed a blue Kia Optima fail to stop at a stop sign.
The officers conducted a traffic stop and signaled for the driver of the Kia to pull over, and the driver pulled over on Somerville Avenue at 15th Street.
Four occupants, three males and one female, were inside the vehicle and police gathered information on all four to 'conduct inquiries on the occupants,' police say. After running their information, the officers found that the driver had an outstanding warrant for parole/probation violations out of Philadelphia. The officer also found that 24-year-old James Alexander, who was sitting in the passenger side of the backseat, also had an outstanding warrant for 'bail jumping' out of Wisconsin.
After learning that two of the occupants had outstanding warrants, Philadelphia police say the officers called for backup and four additional officers arrived in uniform and in marked patrol vehicles.
All six officers then approached the vehicle to remove the driver and Alexander. The driver complied with commands to step out of the vehicle.
Police say an officer then opened the rear passenger door and asked Alexander to step out of the vehicle, instructing him to leave his cell phone in the car. The officer then asked if Alexander had a gun on him.
That's when police say Alexander removed a firearm from the front of his waistline, prompting the officer at his door to yell "he's got a gun" as he retreated away from the car along with two other officers.
Police say Alexander then fired the weapon in the direction of police while he was still sitting in the backseat. Alexander is then said to have exited the Kia and fired at least two more rounds in the direction of the officers.
Investigators say two officers positioned on the driver's side of the vehicle, and the three who had retreated discharged their weapons, striking Alexander.
Alexander was transported to Einstein Medical Center where he later died.
One of the officers who had initially retreated from the passenger side when police say Alexander pulled out the gun suffered a single gunshot wound to the foot. He was treated for his injuries at Einstein and subsequently released.
24-year-old James Alexander was shot and killed after police say he fired at officers during a traffic stop on Wednesday.
Investigators say they conducted interviews with the other three passengers inside the Kia. According to police, one of the passengers claimed Alexander had alerted them that he had a gun on his person and 'state that he could not go back to jail.'
Another witness who was not in the vehicle told police he saw Alexander facing away from the officers on the sidewalk while extending his arm in the opposite direction, firing at police.
After reviewing body camera footage of the incident, police claim Alexander can be seen pointing the gun at police, and a cloud of smoke can be seen coming from the gun as he was still seated in the Kia. A second cloud of smoke was then seen while he was on the sidewalk, facing away from officers and 'extending his arm to the side and slightly backwards.'
Police say a Ruger .40 caliber handgun was found at the scene along with three spent shell casings. They say none of the officers involved in the incident had a .40 caliber handgun.
"Utilizing deadly force is one of the most difficult decisions that an officer will ever face," said Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. "These actions have long-lasting effects on everyone, not just those directly involved in these incidents. I want to assure the public that a thorough and complete investigation will be conducted into this police-involved shooting."
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