Three Philadelphia police officers were justified in returning fire and killing Vincent Parsons who they chased into a children's playground and fired two shots at them in April, District Attorney Seth Williams has announced.
"After a lengthy and careful review of the facts in this case I concluded that the three officers acted properly in this situation," according to Williams. "Vincent Parsons fired first and the officers had no other choice but to fire back."
Officers James Allen, Oronde Watson and Bryan Outterbridge were in plainclothes with Officer Leonard Wright on April 2, when they encountered Parsons on the front porch of a residence.
The officers initially believed Parsons was his brother, Steven Parsons, who was wanted on a bench warrant for gun violations. They identified themselves and approached the house. Upon seeing the officers, Parsons fled the home, eventually running into the Happy Hollow Playground.
Officers Wright and Allen pursed on foot, and as Parsons was running Officer Allen observed a gun in Parsons' hand. Officers Watson and Outterbridge followed the chase in their unmarked vehicle, and entered the playground by driving onto a walking path.
Officer Allen then drew his gun, identified himself, asked bystanders to leave the playground and told Parsons to drop his gun. Instead, Parsons pointed his gun and fired two rounds at Allen. The three officers returned fire, fatally wounding Parsons.
There were no injuries to civilians or police. After the shooting, police recovered a 9mm Ruger semi-automatic pistol from Parsons, seven purple bags containing powder cocaine, currency and a government identification with another person's name.
At the time of his death, Parsons had an outstanding federal warrant for firearms violations. A search of a home on Clapier Street resulted in the seizure of ammunition, body armor and drug paraphernalia.