Philly Police Will Likely Face Questions Over Fatal Overbrook Shooting

It was one of two separate police-involved shootings overnight, leaving one dead and another injured. | artolympic | artolympic

Update: The man who was fatally shot by a police officer in Overbrook has been identified as Richard Ferretti, 52, of Andreas, Schuylkill County, a town more than 80 miles outside of Philadelphia, according to police records. Ferretti’s encounter with police might have been captured on a surveillance camera affixed to the front of an apartment building located at the end of the block where he was shot. Investigators are expected to review footage from the camera.

Two men were shot by Philadelphia Police in separate incidents late last night and early this morning, leaving one dead.

Plainclothes cops who were riding in an unmarked car in Overbrook about 12:30 a.m. responded to a radio call about a Dodge Caravan that was suspiciously circling the block near 63rd Street and Overbrook Avenue, said police spokesman Lt. John Stanford. The undercover cops started trailing the van. After a few spins around the block, they called for uniformed cops to head to the area as well.

The uniformed officers showed up in a marked patrol car and tried to stop the minivan, Stanford said. The undercover cops, meanwhile, cut in front of the van, got out of their car and tried to approach the van. “According to the one officer, the vehicle maneuvered in their direction, and he fired into the vehicle, striking the male driver in the chest,” Stanford said.

The driver, Richard Ferretti, crashed into a handful of parked cars. He was pronounced dead a short while later at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.  The cops were not injured, and the van didn’t have any passengers, said Stanford, who stressed that the information the department released thus far is preliminary. Police Commissioner Richard Ross said Internal Affairs investigators are combing the area for video footage of the incident.

The fatal shooting will likely face heavy scrutiny because of the circumstances. The Police Department’s use of force directive prohibits officers from firing at moving vehicles unless they face an immediate threat, like a driver or passenger who is firing at cops or civilians. One line of the directive reads: “Moving into or remaining in the path of a moving vehicle, whether deliberate or inadvertent, SHALL NOT be justification for discharging a firearm at the vehicle or any of its occupants.”

“The policy is written clearly,” Stanford said. “You can’t put yourself in that situation. I’m not taking anything away from our men and women. They have a tough job. That’s why we train and talk about these things, so when that moment arrives, they can make the right decision.”

About an hour before the Overbrook shooting unfolded, officers who were on patrol in Southwest Philadelphia heard gunshots echo out on Grays Avenue near Lindbergh Boulevard, Stanford said. The made their way down a driveway on the block and spotted a man armed with a gun who was standing on a deck. “He points the weapon at the officers and fires,” Stanford said. “One officer discharged and struck him once in the left leg, but the bullet traveled through and hit his right leg.”

Stanford said the man ran back into his house. The officers gave chase and apprehended him, and another man who tried to flee from the property. The wounded man, whose name has not yet been released, was taken to Penn Presbyterian to be treated for his injuries.

There have been two other police-involved shootings so far this year. Officer Jesse Hartnett shot and wounded Edward Archer at 60th and Spruce Streets in West Philly on January 7th, after Archer, a self-proclaimed member of ISIS, ran up to Hartnett’s patrol car and shot the cop in the arm. On March 17th, a pair of patrol cops tried to stop a man on 15th Street near Clearfield in North Philly because the officers believed he was a suspect in a prior shooting. After a brief chase, the man pulled a gun from his waistband and pointed it at the officers, according to police. One officer opened fire, critically wounding the man.

There was also a fatal shooting that involved an off-duty SWAT cop in Fern Rock last month. Police have said Erik Bullock, the off-duty officer, shot Quron Williams, 19, during a foot chase that unfolded after Bullock caught Williams robbing an elderly man at gunpoint on North Park Avenue near Chew Avenue.

Last year, 11 people were shot — two fatally — during encounters with Philly cops, a far cry from the 52 people who were shot in 2012. The department displays information about officer-involved shootings on its website.

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