Philadelphia police officers fired 109 shots at a suspect killed in Cobbs Creek on Wednesday, which concerns police authorities, Commissioner Richard Ross said on Friday.
Top brass said the number of bullets let loose in a residential area is a concern, NBC10 reported. The 109 bullets from the nine officers’ guns hit two homes and Christopher Sowell, 32, whom Ross said went on a “violent rampage” that night.
Philadelphia Police use the standard issue Glock handgun which can fire up to 17 times using one magazine. The number of bullets that hit Sowell is not clear. The medical examiner has not finished the examination, according to reports.
The officers’ names are expected to be released on Saturday. Police policy is to disclose the names within a 72-hour period.
“Clearly, 109 rounds is a significant cause of concern, regardless of what the circumstances are,” Ross said, Philly.com reported. “It is not an indictment of the police officers, but it may be a significant training issue we need to address.”
Police responded to a call of shots fired on the 6200 block of Hazel Avenue just before 7 p.m. on Wednesday. A 12-year-old girl told police that her dad snapped, strangled her, stabbed her 8-year-old brother and his 13-year-old friend before taking off.
“We don’t know why. We only know from interviews that the daughter indicated she thought her father was high on drugs,” Ross said, Philly.com reported. “We know he assaulted all those people in a very violent rampage.”
Sowell walked to a family friend’s house four blocks away and asked for something to eat, according to reports. Inside the home on the corner of Cobbs Creek Parkway and Webster Avenue, Sowell allegedly slashed the throat of a 70-year-old woman and punched a 41-year-old woman repeatedly in the face.
When Sowell left the house, he had his hands in his pockets. Police said he refused to comply with orders to show them his hands; instead, he “abruptly” took his right hand out of his pocket.
“They had every reason to believe that he was armed with a gun because even the officers who broadcasted that said they were headed to the hospital with the victims; they believed the children were shot,” Ross said, NBC10 reported.
Ross said the officers might have fallen victim to “contagious shooting.”
“In a very volatile situation, particularly with a number of officers present, if there is one officer who reacts quicker than the rest and fires — and this was in fact a very dangerous and volatile situation based on what they knew — other officers hear that gunfire, and they believe they are now under fire, and that they return fire,” Ross said, Philly.com reported.
The two boys and the two women are still hospitalized and the three stabbing victims are in critical condition, according to reports.
Sowell’s aunt, Kim Goodman, told Philly.com Sowell began using drugs after recently losing his job as a welder.
The deceased’s brother, Danny Sowell, posted on Facebook that the police had no reason to shoot his brother.
“My brother is not no killer, he not no menace…he a teddy bear. He’d do anything for you,” the deceased’s brother Danny Sowell said in a Facebook post. “He just got on some bad s–t, man.”
The stabbings and assaults are being investigated as well as the officer-involved shooting.