Police: Smell of marijuana led to fatal shooting at North Philadelphia traffic stop

Police said a man shot and killed in North Philadelphia during a traffic stop leveled a gun at police when a sergeant smelled marijuana coming from his car and called for backup.

Matthew Henderson, 28, of the 4500 block of Roosevelt Boulevard, was seen by a sergeant in the 25th District blowing through a red light at 2nd Street and West Erie Avenue in a 2007 BMW 750, Lt. Ray Evers said. The sergeant pulled him over on the 4400 block of Rising Sun Avenue in Feltonville.

When the uniformed sergeant, who was driving a marked patrol car, approached Henderson’s vehicle, he allegedly smelled marijuana coming from the car’s compartment area. He waited for backup to ask Henderson to step out of the vehicle.

“When they approach the vehicle – the sergeant and the two others, there’s three officers approaching – the male gets out of driver’s door, has a gun in his hand and points at officers,” Evers said. Two of the three officers fired, striking Henderson three to four times. He died on the scene.

Evers said that police recovered next to his body a .40 Taurus that was stolen during a South Philadelphia burglary in January. He said they also found a small amount of marijuana in the ashtray of Henderson’s car and on his person, along with three packages of crack cocaine in his pocket. Henderson had 14 prior arrests, Evers said.

Those include manufacturing, delivering or possessing a controlled substance with the intent to deliver and possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a violent crime, for which he was sentenced to four to eight years’ imprisonment in 2005, witness intimidation, gun charges and reckless endangerment, for which he was sentenced
to six to seven years’ confinement in 2004, simple assault and weapons charges, for which he in 2003 received a years’ probation, drug offenses, for which he was in 2003 sentenced to nine to 18 months in prison and driving under the influence in 2002, according to court documents.

The two officers who discharged their guns are on administrative duties pending an investigation by Internal Affairs and the District Attorney’s Office, Evers said.

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