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National Guard being deployed in Philadelphia after fatal police shooting

Several hundred National Guard personnel are being deployed in Philadelphia after protests and some looting that followed the fatal police shooting of a Black man Monday, the governor's office said.

The office of Gov. Tom Wolf said that the Pennsylvania National Guard would be staffed "to protect the right to peacefully assemble and protest while keeping people safe." The deployment was made at the request of Philadelphia County, he said.

Protests erupted Monday after Philadelphia police shot Walter Wallace Jr., 27, after responding to a call about a man armed with a knife around 2:40 p.m.

Police have said officers ordered Wallace to drop the knife several times, but he continued to advance on them while holding the knife. Both officers at the scene fired, striking Wallace in the shoulder and chest, officials said.

Protestors hold a banner reading "enough is enough" during a rally after the death of Walter Wallace Jr., in Philadelphia, on Oct. 27, 2020.Bastiaan Slabbers / Reuters

Wallace's father, Walter Wallace Sr., told the Philadelphia Inquirer that his son struggled with mental health issues and was on medication. He questioned why police did not use a Taser instead of shooting. His family said there was a domestic problem, and police were told the younger Wallace had mental health issues.

"They didn't have to shoot," Wallace Jr.'s uncle, Rodney Everett, said. "We need new laws. We need them to be trained differently."

Police commissioner Danielle Outlaw said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that the officers involved did not have Tasers. She cited budget constraints.

The family wants justice and for someone to be held accountable, Wallace said Tuesday night. He called on the community to end the violence and looting, saying such acts were disrespectful to his family and the city where he worked for 33 years in the streets department.

"I hope people show my family and the city some kind of respect ... it's uncalled for. It really is," Wallace said. "There's a right, and there's a wrong," he said.

Tuesday night saw more demonstrations. The Inquirer reported that as many as 500 people participated in a mostly peaceful march.

Earlier in the day, activists marched to the police 18th district headquarters, demanding that the two officers who shot at Wallace be fired and that mental health professionals be sent with police to such situations, NBC Philadelphia reported.

Some damage was seen to stores.

News helicopter video appeared to show people entering the broken storefront of a Foot Locker store Tuesday night, and people lifting the metal security grating. Crowds were also seen running out of another store with their arms full of goods. NBC Philadelphia reported it occurred in the Port Richmond area.

A request to Philadelphia police for comment was not immediately returned Tuesday night.

The police department said that 30 officers were injured overnight Monday into Tuesday, mostly from thrown projectiles like bricks or rocks, and that five police vehicles and a fire department vehicle were vandalized.

There were also arrests for looting Monday night, police said. The CVS pharmacy chain said that 10 of its stores in Philadelphia were damaged and that all of its stores would close at 7 p.m. Tuesday out of an abundance of caution.

Officials have said that if the National Guard were deployed its primary role would be to station outside businesses, NBC Philadelphia reported. The Guard was deployed to the city during protests in June.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit and the Philadelphia Police Department’s Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation Unit are looking into Wallace's shooting.

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