Some 30 police officers were sent to the hospital amid the chaos, including one who sustained a broken leg and "various other injuries" after being run down by a large, black pickup truck. Others were struck with rocks, bricks and other projectiles throughout the melee.
According to reports, the black man, 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr., charged at police officers while holding a knife, prompting two of them to shoot and kill him. Video footage captured by witnesses would appear to corroborate this version of events, depicting Wallace chasing police officers around a car and into the street before they discharged their weapons at him.
Following Wallace's collapse to the ground, a responding police officer loaded his body into a vehicle and drove him to the hospital. He later died from his wounds.
After Wallace's death, protesters stormed the streets and began to assault the cops who were present. They also looted vehicles and stores, and even set fire to at least one police officer's vehicle in a show of solidarity for Wallace.
Mayor Jim Kenney, commenting on the shooting, stated that the video footage captured raises "difficult questions that must be answered." The police commissioner has since promised an investigation.
Sgt. Eric Gripp, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD), told reporters that officers had ordered Wallace to drop the knife as he "advanced toward" them. When Wallace did not obey, he was dealt with accordingly.
"It's all part of the active investigation," stated Chief Inspector Frank Vanore, responding to accusations that the officers had fired more shots at Wallace than were necessary. "We are still reviewing all the evidence."
According to Wallace's father, Walter Wallace Sr., his son had struggled with mental health issues and was on medication at the time he was shot by police.
"Why didn't they use a taser?" Wallace Sr. asked. "His mother was trying to defuse the situation."
Mayor Kenny says that the Wallace family deserves "a speedy and transparent resolution" for the sake of everyone involved, including not only Wallace's family but also the officers and everyone else who lives in Philadelphia.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, echoing the mayor's sentiments, said she has instructed the police department to fully investigate the shooting to ensure that the truth is uncovered.
"There are many questions that demand answers," Outlaw stated, pulling almost word-for-word from Kenny's statement. "Residents have my assurances that those questions will be fully addressed by the investigation."
Philadelphia City Council member Jamie Gauthier issued her own statement calling on PPD to immediately release full body camera footage of the incident so the public can see what actually happened.
"The public deserves a full, unvarnished accounting of what took place today," Gauthier is quoted as saying, criticizing the police officers involved for firing their weapons at all.
"Had these officers employed de-escalation techniques and nonlethal weapons rather than making the split-second decision to fire their guns, this young man might still have his life tonight."
In yet another statement, Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner said he and his team plan to go "where the facts and law lead us and to do so carefully, without rushing to judgment and without bias of any kind."
"In the hours and days following this shooting, we ask Philadelphians to come together to uphold people's freedom to express themselves peacefully and to reject violence of any kind," he added.
More related news about the clash between protesters and police in America today can be found at CivilWar.news.
Sources for this article include: