A Philadelphia man is in critical condition after a plainclothes police detective shot him through a car window, authorities said.
The unidentified Philadelphia officer fired his gun four times at the man Monday night after he said the man approached his unmarked police vehicle with his arms extended forward and his hands together. According to the police, the detective thought the man was an armed carjacker.
“The detective indicated he believed that the male was going to rob him,” authorities said in a statement to the media. Investigators did not find a firearm at the scene.
Surveillance video taken from a nearby business captured the incident just before 9 p.m. in Kensington. It shows the man passing several cars stopped in traffic before a puff of smoke appears and he collapses to the ground.
Local outlets have identified the man as 28-year-old Joel Johnson. His family told ABC station WPVI that he has special needs and often panhandles for change.
Johnson is known to extend his arms and rub his fingers together while asking for change, locals told The Philadelphia Inquirer, suggesting that that is what he was doing before being shot.
Brian Cardoza, 24, who lives near the scene, told WHYY-FM that he was drawn outside to what he first thought were fireworks.
“We ran over, and it was the homeless guy we always seen asking for quarters — not for much,” he told the local radio station.
Cardoza said after the man was shot he was immediately handcuffed, searched and put inside of a police car while bleeding from his stomach.
“They pick him up, take him to the sidewalk, drop him on the sidewalk, open the door, and throw him inside the police car like he was garbage,” he said.
Johnson was taken to Temple University Hospital and last listed as being in critical but stable condition, police said. A hospital spokesperson declined to comment on Thursday, citing a request from the victim’s family.
The officer has been placed on desk duty amid an investigation into the shooting. He is only described as 29 years old and a member of the city’s police force since October of 2011.
Monday’s shooting is the fifth police shooting in the city this year, NBC Philadelphia reported.