Archbishop Nelson Perez of Philadelphia has offered prayers for the family of a man recently killed in a police shooting, and decried the violence which has broken out across the city following the incident.
“In recent days, emotions have again flared and spilled into the streets in the City of Philadelphia as people collectively struggle with the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Walter Wallace, Jr.,” said Perez in a statement provided to CNA on Friday, October 30.
“I express my deepest and prayerful condolences to Mr. Wallace’s family, loved ones, and all of those seeking to cope with a variety of complex feelings at this time.”
Wallace, a Black man, was shot and killed by police on October 26. At the time of his death, his family said he was experiencing a “psychological episode,” prompting his family to call for an ambulance. He was shot after police say he advanced towards them while carrying a knife.
“Like many Philadelphians I have been watching the news with growing anxiety and sadness as civil unrest ensued again in our beloved City,” said Perez.
“We must not allow the negative and destructive actions of a few to distract from issues and questions that need to be addressed. Violence in any form has no place in our hearts and deepens wounds rather than heals them,” he added.
Since Wallace’s death, there have been incidents of violence and looting throughout the city of Philadelphia. Two men were arrested and charged with several felonies on Thursday after they were discovered with a van full of explosives.
At least 11 ATMs have been stolen, and as of Thursday, more than 200 people have been arrested. At least 40 of those arrests were for burglary related to widespread looting on Wednesday night.
The National Guard was brought into Philadelphia earlier this week, and the city was placed under a 9 p.m. curfew on Wednesday night.
“May God bring peace to the City of Philadelphia,” said Perez. “May He fill our hearts with goodness so that we might see the Lord in all of our brothers and sisters and treat one another with charity, dignity, and respect.”