Bomb Squad Activated After Disturbing Discovery Is Made Amid Philadelphia Riots
One night after rioting and looting continued to turn Philadelphia into a city on edge, explosive devices were discovered in a van on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Rioting in Philadelphia began Monday after police killed Walter Wallace Jr., a black man. Police, who had been called to an incident involving a man with a knife, called for Wallace to drop the knife, but the man did not comply and walked toward officers, leading them to shoot, authorities said.
The rioting continued on Tuesday, with police saying more than 1,000 people hit businesses.
On Wednesday night, the Philadelphia Bomb Squad and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded after the 10 p.m. discovery of explosive devices, according to WTXF-TV.
Police recovered propane tanks, torches and what may have been sticks of dynamite, WPVI-TV reported.
Citing unnamed sources, WTXF reported that the devices found were “M-Type devices,” similar to what police believe have been used to destroy ATMs around the city recently.
The station also reported that police are investigating the theft of 16 U-Haul trucks and propane tanks amid fears that the stolen trucks, propane tanks and explosives could be linked.
Seven ATMs were blown up between around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and 5 a.m. Wednesday, according to KYW. Businesses where the ATMs where located suffered damage, but there were no serious injuries reported.
Ten other ATMs had been destroyed earlier in the week, according to WPVI. ATMs in Philadelphia have been a target in the rioting that followed the death of George Floyd in May.
The discovery of the explosives in the van came as Philadelphia declared a curfew Wednesday night after more than 200 businesses were targeted by rioters this week.
Pennsylvania National Guard troops have been dispatched to prevent further rioting as the Halloween weekend approaches.
“Their role, first and foremost, will be to safeguard property and prevent looting,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.
Businesses were boarding up Wednesday to prevent further damage.
“Just boarding up, we got hit last night,” Kevin Phang, who owns the Sun Laundromat, told KYW-TV. “I mean, it really sucks because you know, this is our only location. We’re not a big corporation where we lost a store, it’s fine, the next day we’ll still make money. For small businesses, it really sucks.”
Wallace’s shooting prompted very different reactions among political leaders. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont called the shooting murder and called for the officers to be arrested.
Walter Wallace should be alive today, and our thoughts are with his loved ones. The police responsible for murdering him in front of his mother instead of getting him the medical attention he needed should be arrested, investigated, and prosecuted by the Justice Department.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) October 28, 2020
President Donald Trump called the shooting a “terrible event” and also condemned the rioting that followed it, according to Fox News.
“The mayor or whoever it is that’s allowing people to riot and loot and not stop them is also just a horrible thing,” Trump told reporters Wednesday.
“I saw the event. Everybody did, it was on television. It was a terrible event. I guess that’s being looked at very strongly. We have the federal government looking at it also. But the rioting in Philadelphia has to stop. They have to stop it.”
“They should bring in the National Guard if the police need help and they should do something. You can’t let that go again. A Democrat-run state, a Democrat-run city,” Trump said.
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