A deadly confrontation yesterday led to the second killing of a robbery suspect by Philadelphia police in as many days and the 19th killing this year by the department’s officers, the highest total in more than a quarter-century, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Police say the latest episodes underscore the gun violence officers face in a particularly violent time. “It seems that more people are more inclined to produce firearms and shoot at police,” said Capt. Benjamin Naish. “It’s been a dramatic turn for this year.”
Last year, seven suspects were killed by police. This year’s total now exceeds the 18 suspects killed in 1994, the most since the FBI began tracking police use of deadly force in 1980. Mayor John Street’s spokesman, Joe Grace, said that while officers are expected to exercise prudence in using deadly force, there is a different climate in the city this year because there “are so many guns on our streets.” “It’s clear the number of shootings has increased, and that’s a direct correlation to the number of guns in our community,” he said.