The Fatal Police Shooting of Ricardo Munoz in Lancaster, Pa., Explained

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on Sunday evening after 27-year-old Ricardo Munoz was fatally shot by police earlier in the day.

On Sunday afternoon, Lancaster police responded to a domestic disturbance call at the home of Munoz's mother shortly around 4 p.m. Munoz had allegedly became "aggressive with his mother and was attempting to break into her house," according to the Lancaster Bureau of Police.

The Lancaster County Office of the District Attorney said that Munoz "was armed with a knife" when a police officer fired his gun at him.

"The footage shows that when the officer gets in front of a residence in the 300 block of Laurel Street, Munoz immediately emerges from inside and runs toward the officer, brandishing a knife above his head, in clear view, in a threatening manner," the DA's office said in a press release.

Munoz was pronounced dead at the scene. Officials said no one else was struck by gun fire.

Police posted body camera footage on social media shortly after the fatal shooting. In the video, Munoz chases the officer down the sidewalk with a knife before the officer turns around and fatally shoots Munoz.

The DA's office has opened up an investigation into the use of police force.

"District Attorney Heather Adams will make a final determination on the use of force upon completion of the investigation," a statement from her office read.

According to local news outlets, the police officer has been placed on administrative leave.

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

Ricardo Munoz
A screenshot of the body camera footage released by Lancaster police. An officer who arrived on the scene fatally shot 27-year-old Ricardo Munoz. YouTube/Lancaster Bureau of Police

A crowd formed outside the police station after the footage was released. Protesters were angered that Munoz's body had allegedly been left uncovered on the sidewalk for hours.

Demonstrators gathered on a ramp at the station, locking arms to form a wall. The department said a number of buildings and government vehicles were vandalized and damaged by protesters.

Police shot and killed an autistic man in Lancaster, PA today and left his body uncovered for hours. People are protesting outside the police HQ now.

— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) September 14, 2020

Police used tear gas early Monday to disperse crowds after the group was provided "several warnings" that "chemical munitions would be deployed" if they did not move, according to the Lancaster Bureau of Police.

The department said bricks were thrown into the police station while officers were hit with water bottles, glass bottles, rocks and bricks among other objects.

"As of time of this release, protesters are still gathered outside the station and have thrown traffic barricades, large planters and trash receptacles across the ramp," police said Monday.

Adams also pleaded with demonstrators to remain peaceful as her office completes its investigation.

"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," the DA's office said in a Sunday statement.

Newsweek reached out to the Lancaster Bureau of Police for comment but did not hear back before publication.

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