A city in southeastern Pennsylvania is the latest to be convulsed by rioting after a police officer shot a man armed with a knife who was chasing him.
On Sunday, a Lancaster police officer fatally shot Ricardo Munoz, 27.
Within hours, rioters had taken to the streets in violence that included smashing windows at the city’s police station, according to Lancaster Online, which reported that several people were arrested overnight.
Videos shared on social media showed some of the unrest.
“A group in excess of 100 protestors gathered on the access ramp on the west side of the station,” the bureau said. “The group moved further up the ramp and locked arms in a line. A public address system was used to provide several warnings that if the group did not move from the ramp that chemical munitions would be deployed.
“The group failed to follow the instructions and chemical agents were used to disperse the crowd. Members of the crowd damaged a county vehicle parked in the front of the police station. Bricks were thrown through the front of the police station and into the post office window.
“People on the ramp, W. Chestnut St. and the park adjacent to the station threw water bottles, glass bottles, rocks, bricks, gallon jugs of liquids and parts of plastic road barricades at Officers.
“OC spray was also deployed at protestors that refused to move from the ramp and were physically challenging Officers that were moving to clear people from the ramp.”
Police also posted a video from the officer’s body camera.
WARNING: The following video contains graphic violence and vulgar language that some viewers may find disturbing or offensive.
The incident was summarized in a statement from the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.
“Lancaster city police responded to a home in the 300 block of Laurel Street about 4:15 p.m. for a reported domestic disturbance. On scene, a Lancaster city police officer fired at a 27-year-old man who was armed with a knife. The man, identified as Ricardo Munoz, was killed and pronounced dead at the scene,” it said.
The office shared what it called “some information based on a preliminary investigation, which included review of footage from the firing officer’s body camera.”
“The footage shows that when the officer gets in front of a residence in the 300 block of Laurel Street, Munoz immediately emerges from inside and runs toward the officer, brandishing a knife above his head, in clear view, in a threatening manner,” it said. “The officer then fired.
Do you think the officer was justified in shooting Munoz?
“No one else was struck by gunfire. To repeat, the incident is under investigation. We do intend to release all findings from the investigation once completed.”
District Attorney Heather Adams said in a statement, “A police-involved shooting has significant impact on a community, as we are seeing with the large number of individuals gathering in the streets. However, I am asking that all reaction be tempered as the investigation is ongoing.”
“We ask that acts of protest remain peaceful as violence and destruction of property will become headlines and serve no purpose for the safety and wellbeing of our citizens and neighborhoods,” Adams said.
Lancaster Police Chief Jarrad Berkihiser said an internal review within the department will be conducted.
“Any loss of life, regardless of how it happened, is devastating,” he said. “It’s devastating for everybody involved. It’s devastating for our police department, the families and our community.”
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