On Monday, January 29, in South Philadelphia, a man ran over a pedestrian with his car, then got out and attempted to assault a good Samaritan who stopped him from escaping. In the end, an off-duty officer put the man down, preventing further havoc.
Now, the identity of the driver who ran over the pedestrian and caused a scene is known. He has been identified as Khalil Lawal, a 31-year-old man from Arlington, Virginia.
What a 31-year-old man from Arlington, Virginia, was doing in South Philadelphia when he suddenly decided to attempt to run over a pedestrian is up for debate. However, what he did is not.
At 7:36 a.m. on Monday morning, Lawal struck a pedestrian with his vehicle, a Honda Accord.
A good Samaritan, seeing that Lawal was about to flee, blocked Lawal from being able to drive off.
According to witness accounts, Lawal then got out of the vehicle and began to chase the unnamed good Samaritan.
An off-duty policeman, who was driving around the 1300 block of Bigler Street near to Broad Street when this all happened, exited his truck and identified himself in a loud, clear voice, hoping to end the fighting.
As he got closer, he drew his service weapon, and Lawal thought it would be a better idea to assault the officer.
The officer fired his service weapon at Lawal, hitting him in the face, the legs, and the torso, and wounding him grievously.
Khalil Lawal was taken to the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where they pronounced him dead at 10:15 a.m.
The pedestrian who had been struck by Khalil Lawal’s Honda Accord fared much better than his attacker. He was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
While there, he was treated for what amounted to essentially scrapes and bruises resulting from the attack.
The officer was also treated for minor injuries sustained when Khalil Lawal assaulted him.
He received treatment at Methodist Hospital for minor cuts and scrapes to his head and shoulder.
As per department policy, the officer has been placed on administrative duty. This is NOT to suggest any sort of wrongdoing, however.
Many police departments, in order to ensure that they limit liability, place any officer who has shot someone on administrative duty while the shooting is investigated.
From what is currently known about the shooting, it is a ‘good’ shooting, one that is justifiable. Upon completion of the investigation, if that viewpoint is confirmed by the police department, the officer will be returned to road or street duty.
As of this time, there is no known motivation for the assault by Khalil Lawal. However, it is hard to believe that he had a disagreement with someone so intense that he would drive 3 hours from Arlington, Virginia to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to run over one random person.
His name has led some to speculate that Khalil Lawal, who is said to have intentionally run over the pedestrian, might be the newest Islamist to attack American citizens on American soil.
Indeed, running people over with a car or other vehicle is a common practice for jihadis around the world, it appears. Further, his name does have Muslim roots.
Khalil (also written Khaleel) is a common first name for Muslims around the world, and his last name, Lawal, is a common Nigerian last name. Nigeria is a country where a plurality of people identify as practitioners of Islam.
It also seems like Pennsylvania has had an unusually high volume of attacks that could be related to terrorism in the past year and a half, including an attempted (and failed) shooting in Harrisburg, the state’s capital.
Some locals raised complaints about the actions of the officer in firing on Khalil Lawal, suggesting that because he fired more than ten rounds at the target, he might have overreacted.
Obviously, this is an absurd complaint, and most individuals are taught to keep firing at an enemy until the ‘threat’ is neutralized. Whether this means death or incapacitation is not up to the shooter.
The officer acted well in stopping Khalil Lawal, no matter what Lawal’s motivations and intentions were. He utilized a car to run over a person, seemingly at random, and there is no telling how much worse the situation might have gotten if it had not been stopped.
We should also be thankful for the actions of the good Samaritan. By blocking in Khalil Lawal’s car, the good Samaritan removed Lawal’s most effective weapon, leaving him to chase and assault the officer with only his hands.
Hopefully, this is the last strange attack that occurs this year. However, the year is still young, and already it has brought carnage.