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December 28, 2017

Philly police officer fatally shoots unarmed man who fled in wanted Hyundai

Car man had been driving was part of homicide investigation; man was not considered a person of interest in that case

Police Investigations
Stock_Carroll - Philadelphia Police Car Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

A Philadelphia Police car near City Hall in Center City.

Philadelphia police fatally shot an unarmed man who fled in a car that cops were pursuing related to a homicide investigation in Germantown on Wednesday night, authorities said.

It was later determined that the man, identified as Dennis Plowden, 25, of the 1600 block of E. Walnut Lane, was not a person of interest in the homicide, according to police.

Plowden was shot after police had attempted to stop his vehicle, First Deputy Commissioner Myron Patterson said during a press briefing on Thursday morning. 

Plowden fled in the car, striking one of the officers, the unmarked police vehicle and several parked cars, Patterson said. Plowden then exited the car and attempted to flee, before being shot by police.

Patterson vowed that police will conduct a "very objective, transparent and comprehensive investigation" into the shooting.

Plowden was pronounced dead at 7:18 a.m. Thursday at Einstein Medical Center. 

According to Patterson, two plainclothes officers, driving an unmarked car, spotted a white, 2013 Hyundai wanted in connection with a homicide that took place Dec. 21 on the 1800 block of East Atlantic Avenue.

The officers flipped on their police lights, prompting the Hyundai to stop near the intersection of Nedro Avenue and 16th Street. 

But when an officer approached the stopped vehicle, the driver sped off, striking one of the officers in the process, Patterson said. The Honda crashed into several cars before coming to a stop near Nedro and Opal streets.

When Plowden exited the Hyundai, a plainclothes officer gave "repeated commands" to show his hands, Patterson said. When he did not, an officer fired a single shot that struck Plowden in the head.

The officers had been alerted that any occupants of the wanted Hyundai should be considered "armed and dangerous," Patterson said. 

A preliminary investigation indicated Plowden was sitting on the sidewalk when he was shot, according to police. Plowden allegedly had placed his hand in his jacket pocket instead of showing his hands.

No weapon was recovered. The man did not have any outstanding warrants for any felonies, Patterson said. 

The names of the police officers involved in the incident will be released within 72 hours, Patterson said. 

It is unclear whether Plowden knew the owner of the Hyundai or that it was connected to a homicide.

"The investigative process is still unfolding," Patterson said. "We're trying to be as transparent as we can. We don't want to give you any misinformation."

Police are still canvassing the crime scene in search of witnesses and video, Patterson said. Because the officers were in plainclothes, they were not wearing body cameras. 

A 27-year-old, female passenger who was in the Hyundai sustained bruises and abrasions and also was transported to Einstein Medical Center.

The injured police officer was transported to Temple University Hospital for injuries to his right arm and hand.

Correction: The original version of this story misidentified the car.