A Philadelphia police officer has been charged with murder in the shooting death of a man over the weekend in South Philadelphia.
The charges against Officer Rudolph Gary, 26, were announced Monday afternoon by the district attorney’s office.
Investigators say Gary, who was off-duty, shot 22-year-old Howard Williams during an argument around 6:30 p.m. Sunday in the 1800 block of Hoffman Street.
Police say two other people were also shot. A 26-year-old woman was shot in the leg and an 18-year-old man received a graze wound.
Witnesses say the altercation started when children and adults tried to beat the heat by spraying each other with water on one of the first hot days of the year.
Authorities say the exact circumstances that led up to the shooting remain under investigation.
Gary’s ex-wife, who is also Williams’ sister, spoke to Action News about the shooting. Shanae Williams said Gary stopped by to pick up the couple’s eight-year-old son. She then said Gary’s girlfriend was sprayed with water.
“He went to his truck and got the gun, came back and shot in the air,” she said
At that point, the Williams family said, Gary turned his attention to Howard Williams and shot him.
“Not only did he shoot my son once, he stood over him and kept shooting him,” said the Williams’ mother Diane. “If he’s already down, why keep shooting him?”
The Williams family says, back in November 2009, there was an incident between the two ex-brothers-in-law. In that case, police arrived before anyone was hurt.
“Mr. Gary pulled his gun on my brother before,” said sister Alice Walker. “So, this is not a new incident. It was supposed to be taken care of the first time.”
Police say Gary, an officer since November 2008, has been suspended with intent to dismiss.