KENSINGTON - Authorities are investigating after a man panhandling in Kensington was shot by an undercover detective who reportedly believed he saw the man holding a gun.
The incident happened just before 9 p.m. Monday on the 3400 block of G Street.
Surveillance footage shows Joel Johnson walking along a line of cars stopped at a light on G Street. From a dark sedan comes gunfire and smoke as the 28-year-old collapses. He rises up, walks and drops back down as the detective approaches.
Louis Feilciano was on his porch with his wife and granddaughter when he heard Johnson, who he says panhandles, with arms extended get shot.
Police rushed Johnson to Temple University Hospital where he is listed in critical but stable condition.
The detective who just left a crime scene has told investigators he thought Johnson—described as having a disability by those that know him—posed a threat.
"The gentleman is extending his arms towards his car as he’s walking towards it. The detective believes that he’s got a gun in between his hands. The investigation has revealed that’s not the case," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross.
“Deadly force is a measure to be employed only in the most extreme circumstances," according to police directives, which also advise police that those suffering from substance abuse or who have disabilities may not be able to follow police commands.
Johnson’s family, who live a few blocks away, promised to speak with reporters at a later date.
The detective in question, a 7-1/2 year veteran of the force, is currently on desk duty as authorities probe the incident.