Riot Breaks out in Pennsylvania After Police Officer Shoots Knife-Wielding Man

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
September 14, 2020Updated: September 14, 2020

A riot broke out in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, late Sunday.

Over 100 people gathered, enraged over the police shooting of a knife-wielding man earlier in the day.

Video footage from downtown showed rioters smashing windows at businesses, the police station, and a post office. They also lit multiple fires.

After the crowd ignored warnings to disperse, law enforcement officers fired tear gas and used other crowd control methods.

At least four people were arrested.

During the dispersal, people hurled glass bottles, bricks, and other projectiles at police officers, the Lancaster Bureau of Police said in a statement.

Lancaster is located about 75 miles west of Philadelphia. The picturesque area is known for its farms. Many Amish families reside in the county.

The police shooting took place at approximately 4:24 p.m. on Laurel Street.

Officers responded to a 911 call about a man becoming aggressive with his mother. The man was trying to break into the mother’s house, the caller said.

The first officer on the scene walked to the front of the home and made contact with the woman.

That’s when the man sprinted out of the residence and began chasing the officer, body camera footage showed. The man was holding a knife.

Warning: Footage contains violent images.

The officer initially began running away before turning around and firing several shots.

The 27-year-old man who was chasing the officer was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the shooting.

“There’s an investigation that has to play out here and we’re just asking everybody to maintain peace and allow the investigation to play out allow the district attorney’s office to do their jobs,” Lancaster Police Chief Jarrad Berkihiser said at a press conference shortly after the shooting.

“It does us no good to create other harm, or other, you know, to have other loss of life or injury or any type of property damage within the city that does absolutely nobody any good because it actually detracts investigators away from that investigation.”

Prosecutors later identified the deceased as Ricardo Munoz.

According to online court records, Munoz has a criminal record that includes disorderly conduct. He was awaiting trial on four charges of aggravated assault at the time of his death.

“A police-involved shooting has significant impact on a community, as we are seeing with the large number of individuals gathering in the streets,” District Attorney Heather Adams said in a statement. “However, I am asking that all reaction be tempered as the investigation is ongoing.”

“We ask that acts of protest remain peaceful as violence and destruction of property will become headlines and serve no purpose for the safety and wellbeing of our citizens and neighborhoods,” she added.

Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace, a Democrat, said in a statement: “This has been a heartbreaking day for our city. I grieve for the loss of life and know that there are more questions to be answered as the investigation continues.”

Sorace said the officer involved in the shooting has been placed on leave.