PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A man who was fatally shot after opening fire on officers during a traffic stop had an outstanding warrant for “bail jumping” in Wisconsin, Philadelphia police said.
Police said 24-year-old James Alexander was shot multiple times in the torso Wednesday night by officers and was pronounced dead at the hospital. An unnamed 29-year-old officer who was shot in the foot during the altercation was treated and released.
A police spokesperson said in a news release that officers initially pulled over a vehicle with four occupants for allegedly running a stop sign about 6:45 p.m. Officers ran the identifications of the three men and one woman in the car and found the male driver and Alexander had open warrants.
The driver was wanted on a probation or parole violation, police said. Alexander, who was sitting in the rear of the car, had a warrant for what police called “bail jumping,” or failing to appear in court after posting bail. The officers called for backup because of the outstanding warrants, and two additional cruisers responded.
Police said Alexander removed a firearm from his waistline after officers asked him to get out of the car. The officers said he fired the handgun once from inside the car and at least two more times after he exited the vehicle. Officers returned fire, striking Alexander multiple times. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
It had previously been reported that Alexander had shot the injured officer in the foot. But police said Thursday they were still investigating.
At least one of Alexander’s family members have disputed the account, saying they believed Alexander did not have or did not fire a weapon. In Thursday’s new release, police noted an outside witness reported seeing Alexander pointing a firearm and firing in the direction of the officers.
Officers also said that a .40-caliber handgun as well as three .40-caliber bullet casings, which did not match the caliber of any of the officers’ weapons, were recovered at the scene. Police also said the three other occupants of the car gave statements that Alexander told them he had a gun and that he “could not go back to jail” before the encounter.
Police also reviewed body camera footage that has not been released to the public. A spokesperson said in the release that a cloud of smoke can be seen coming from Alexander’s firearm while he is still seated in the car, and another cloud of smoke can be seen coming from his firearm as he appears to fire at officers while on the sidewalk.
Police have not said how many times Alexander was shot, but said at least five officers returned fire and struck Alexander in the torso. Police recovered 28 additional fired bullet casings from the scene believed to belong to officers.