July 4, 2009

Police: Prank calls led to fatal shooting

Philadelphia police say officers were forced to fatally shoot a homeless man who had been repeatedly making prank emergency phone calls.

Police said the 59-year-old homeless man, whose identity was not released, used a call box at a Municipal Services Building concourse to repeatedly phone police Friday only to immediately hang up the phone, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Saturday.

Two police officers were dispatched to the downtown location following the 40th prank phone call and the responding officers soon found themselves chasing the homeless suspect.

Police spokesman Sgt. Ray Evers said the man eventually stopped and pulled out a utility knife to confront the pursuing officers.

Police said the officers shot him after he suddenly lunged at them with the knife. The wounded man was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

The Inquirer said the incident marked the 12th person to be killed by police officers in Philadelphia in 2009.