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Family of man killed by Philadelphia police officer demands answers and justice

Family of man killed by police in Kensington holds balloon release
Family of man killed by police in Kensington holds balloon release 02:24

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect spelling of Irizarry's last name. We apologize for this error.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The family of Eddie Irizarry, the man fatally shot in Kensington earlier this week, is grieving his loss Wednesday night and demanding answers on how this situation escalated so quickly into his shooting death.

Family and friends of Irizarry held a balloon release in the same spot where he was shot and killed by police along Willard Street.

Justice is the word that kept coming up in conversations with family members. They want to see the body cam video police say they've reviewed – and they want to know why the officer felt the need to use deadly force. 

The incident has made them question whether they can ever trust the police again. 

The family couldn't believe the original report, saying Irizarry was never in trouble with the law.

"Everyone that knows him, sees him as oh he'll go to the store for any neighbor, anybody. Help anybody. He loves working on cars," Zoraida Garcia, Irizarry's aunt, said.   

On Monday, police said Irizarry was outside the vehicle and lunged at officers with a knife. But now investigators say body camera video shows Irizarry never left his car before an officer shot him.  

Eddie Irizarry, 27, was killed by a Philadelphia police officer on Monday, Aug. 14, 2023. Irizarry family

"They got tasers, something like that. They got that. Why don't they use that? Not shooting him the way they did it," Nelson Garcia, Irizarry's grandfather, said.

Family says Irizarry didn't speak or understand English – likely leading to confusion during the stop. Police also say officers reported seeing two knives in the car before Irizarry was shot. But that didn't come as a surprise to Eddie's sister, Maria.  

"Since we were kids, he always keeps knives in his pocket, but it was never as a weapon. It was always as a tool," Maria Irizarry said.

"We have not spoken to any officers, anybody, no one has come to us to explain anything," Zoraida Garcia said.

"I just want everyone to tell the truth and even come here and come apologize to us," Maria Irizarry said.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw says that after correcting the report she knows how much pain this has caused and she assures the public this will be a fair and thorough investigation.

The officer who shot Irizarry is now on administrative leave – and investigators say they have yet to talk with him. The officer's identity is also not known at this time.

Family and friends say they want everyone to know the real Eddie.

"You guys didn't know him but he was the like humblest guy you could know, he was never a violent person," Maria Irizarry said.

"I hope that he gets justice and gets locked up for the rest of his life," one man said.

The Officer Involved Shooting unit is looking into the incident. 

Outlaw says they will release updates as best they can without damaging the integrity of the investigation.

Fortunato Perri, an attorney representing both officers provided a statement to CBS Philadelphia: 

"The officers involved have the full support of the Fraternal Order of Police as we continue to review the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic incident." 

Philadelphia Police release new information about fatal Kensington shooting 03:10
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