Philadelphia is on heightened alert after authorities reportedly found a van filled with explosives and other suspicious materials after several nights of demonstrations over the shooting death of a black man.
Police recovered dynamite sticks, propane tanks, and torches from the vehicle near Logan Square late Thursday night, reports said. The city's bomb squad is investigating and authorities have yet to determine who owns the van or if suspects have been arrested.
City officials said around 200 businesses, most of them already having difficulties in the wake of the global health crisis, were the targets of escalating lootings across Philadelphia. To help the authorities, an undetermined number of state National Guard troops will soon be deployed in the city.
Officials disclosed that what started out as a peaceful demonstration of roughly 1,000 people at Malcolm X Park Wednesday night turned very violent against the police officers manning the area. The protesters hurled rocks and even blood at the officers, reports said.
There was no one in the van when police arrived at the scene, NBC10 reported. A witness said they saw a man running away from the van while the city was under a curfew.
Twenty-three police officers were hurt in the protests, which raised questions on whether they are allowed to use tear gas or pepper spray when they're under attack. The curfew was carried out in response to two nights of successive lootings sparked by the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.
During a media briefing, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said she plans to release 911 footage and body camera video of the shooting as soon as the department shares it with Wallace's family.
According to police representative Tanya Little, Wallace was shot as police responded to a report of an individual with a weapon. Officers ordered the 27-year old father of nine to drop the knife, but instead he "advanced toward" the officers, who then fired "several times," Little said.
Wallace's family said he was experiencing a mental health problem and claimed their 911 call was for an ambulance - not police interference.