Officer involved in Wallace shooting killed in crash

officer crash
REUTERS/Jay Paul

One of the police officers who fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr. two years ago was killed Tuesday evening in an off-duty motorcycle crash.

Thomas Munz Jr., 27, who joined the force four years ago, crashed his Kawasaki motorcycle into the rear driver’s side of an SUV just before 6:45 p.m. on the 3300 block of S. Broad Street, near the stadiums in South Philadelphia, authorities said.

Police said Munz was thrown from his bike and landed in the street. Medics pronounced him dead about 15 minutes after the crash, the cause of which was still being investigated Wednesday.

“Quite frankly, we’re all still processing,” Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told reporters during a regularly-scheduled virtual briefing on gun violence. “A lot of folks here are grieving.”

The driver of the SUV remained at the scene and was uninjured, according to authorities.

In October 2020, Munz and fellow Officer Sean Matarazzo fired 14 shots at Wallace, who was walking on a West Philadelphia street with a knife.

Wallace’s killing sparked peaceful demonstrations, violent unrest and police reforms aimed at better dealing with people experiencing mental distress.

District Attorney Larry Krasner, after expressing condolences and arguing that more needs to be done to improve road safety, indicated Wednesday that his probe into Wallace’s death has not yet concluded.

“My office’s investigation of the 2020 shooting death by police of Walter Wallace, Jr., a 27-year-old father of nine, is nearing the end of its course,” he said in a statement. “We will have no further comment until such time as a resolution can be announced.”

An internal PPD investigation into the incident determined that it was a “justifiable shooting,” Outlaw said, and Munz, at the time of his death, had been a full-duty active officer.

Less than 24 hours after the collision, another law enforcement officer, from the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office, was injured in an on-duty hit-and-run crash.

Deputy Sheriff Matthew Leibman was riding his bicycle at 10th and Filbert streets in Center City when he was struck by a black SUV that ignored a stop light, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Leibman was hospitalized in stable condition but is expected to be released soon, officials said Wednesday afternoon.

“I visited Deputy Sheriff Leibman and I am grateful that his fellow deputies quickly helped transport him to Jefferson Hospital,” Sheriff Rochelle Bilal said in a statement.

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