Philadelphia police found a van filled with explosives the night of Wednesday – the tensions caused by the murder of black Walter Wallace by police continued for a third night.
WPVI reported that propane tanks, flares and possibly sticks of dynamite were recovered from the van at Logan Circle in Center City.
The bomb squad had initiated an investigation, the station reported. It was not immediately clear whether there had been arrests. The Philadelphia police department was asked to comment.
On Monday afternoon, police fatally shot and killed 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr. in the 6100 block of Locust Street in the Cobb Creek district.
#BREAKING : Philadelphia police discovered a van loaded with explosives and suspicious equipment at Logan Circle in Center City. Live coverage follows at 11am. @6abc pic.twitter.com/GWhMjR7D04
– Then Cuellar (@ThenCuellar) October 29, 2020
A video posted on Twitter shows Wallace walking down the street while two officers walk backwards with guns pointed at him. Moments before a series of shots is heard and Wallace falls to the ground, shouts such as “Put the knife down.
“Brother, they just killed him in front of me,” you can hear a man’s voice saying. “You don’t have to give him so many shots!”
Philadelphia police said Wallace was armed with a knife, disobeyed the order to drop the gun, and “ran toward the officers.
Wallace’s family said he had had mental health problems in the past and was taking medication. His mother, Catherine Wallace, said she tried to defuse the situation and begged the officers not to shoot.
Hours after Wallace’s death, protests erupted in Philadelphia that escalated into riots and looting and continued on Tuesday night.
Philadelphia Governor Tom Wolf called in the National Guard. A curfew was imposed at 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening and remained in effect until 6:00 a.m. on Thursday. There were no reports of serious riots after the curfew took effect, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The city’s police commissioner, Danielle Outlaw, has promised to release sound and body camera footage of September 11 after Wallace’s family has reviewed the material. At a press conference on Wednesday, Outlaw said the police do not have a mental health department, but she would like to set one up “as soon as possible.
On Twitter, the mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, said the footage would be released “in the coming days.
“I know that our city is still suffering. Many Philadelphians are rightly outraged after the shooting of Walter Wallace, Jr. I thank all who have joined us in our common call for peace in Philadelphia as we strive for justice,” Kenney said. “We have committed ourselves to a thorough investigation.”
In announcing the curfew, Kenney also said it was clear that many people were “taking advantage of the situation” by looting stores.
“The looting that has taken place is disturbing, and it is clear that many of these people are taking advantage of the situation, harming our businesses and communities and doing a great disservice to those who want to protest the death of Walter Wallace Jr,” he said.