Philly police find van full of explosives amid unrest over fatal OIS

Officers recovered propane tanks, torches and what appeared to be dynamite sticks from the vehicle Wednesday night


By Jessica Schladebeck
New York Daily News

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia police uncovered a van packed with explosives and other suspicious cargo following several nights of unrest over the death of Walter Wallace Jr., a Black man with a history of mental health problems, who was fatally shot during a confrontation with authorities earlier this week.

Officers recovered propane tanks, torches and what appeared to be dynamite sticks from the vehicle Wednesday night, WPVI reported. It’s not clear if a suspect has been taken into custody nor how the van became known to law enforcement.

Philadelphia police officers form a line during a demonstration in Philadelphia, late Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020.
Philadelphia police officers form a line during a demonstration in Philadelphia, late Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The city remained on high alert late Thursday morning as authorities continued to investigate. A bomb squad also responded to the scene.

After two nights of protests and unrest, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney during a virtual press conference on Wednesday declared a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. citywide. He also announced an undetermined number of National Guard soldiers would begin arriving in the city on Friday to assist officers over the weekend.

Gov. Tom Wolf just hours before the curfew was scheduled begin, also signed an emergency proclamation in a bid to curb looting and violence.

“Hundreds have gathered peacefully to speak out against social injustices. But their voices are being drowned out by others taking advantage of this time to sow mayhem,” he said.

“I signed this proclamation so commonwealth resources can be provided quickly to protect lives and property.”

While scattered reports of looting were reported overnight, Philadelphia was otherwise without the violent confrontations and chaos it faced in the days after Wallace was killed by police.

Wallace, a 27-year-old aspiring rapper and father of nine, was shot Monday afternoon while officers responded to a report of a person with a weapon. Police said he was wielding a knife and ignored officers' orders before they opened fire.

Wallace’s parents have since said their son was in a mental health crisis and that officers should have been aware as they were called to the home three times on Monday.

The deadly incident sparked outrage in city residents, more than 1,000 of who gathered at Malcolm X Park for a demonstration on Tuesday. The protest eventually turned violent, with more than 23 officers injured by the end of the night, WPVI reported.

(c)2020 New York Daily News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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