Lt. Raymond Evers, a police spokesman, said the clash between the officer and the man, whom relatives identified as Kenyado Newsuan, began about 6 a.m. on Mascher Street near Nedro Avenue after somebody on the next block flagged the cop down and reported that a naked man was running around yelling.
The neighbor said that Newsuan had come out of his house about 4:30 a.m. and that a bizarre and frightening struggle ensued.
"He came out of the house butt-naked saying, 'I'm king of the world. I'm Tarzan,' " the neighbor recalled. "This is his third time doing this, running around naked."
Evers said that right after the officer got out of his patrol car, the physical confrontation started so the cop, a six-year veteran, managed to get some distance and use his Taser on the man.
"It has absolutely no effect on him; then the struggle starts again," Evers said.
During their conflict, Newsuan scrambled to grab the officer's gun, Evers said, but the officer was able to fire four shots, hitting the man twice in the chest and once in the abdomen. He was pronounced dead at Albert Einstein Medical Center at 6:22 a.m.
The Medical Examiner's Office will conduct toxicology tests, Evers said.
The cop suffered several bumps, scratches and bruises during the altercation, Evers said. He also was taken to Einstein, where he was treated and released.
"I seen him grab the cop's hip and go for the gun," the neighbor said, adding that the man tore the officer's uniform. "He was not down after one shot. He [the officer] had to shoot him two or three times."
Meanwhile, relatives of Newsuan said that though he was high on PCP, police didn't have a right to shoot and kill him.
"He was a good person. He just hung around the wrong people that day," Newsuan's aunt Debria Jones said. "He was on drugs that night, but that's no reason to kill him."
Jones said Newsuan was released from prison a few months ago and was "trying to get his life back together" and working in a barbershop in North Philly.
Court records show that Newsuan pleaded guilty to simple assault, robbery, resisting arrest and other charges in 2001, and was sentenced to prison.
"Nobody deserves to be shot down. He didn't do anything to nobody but himself," Jones said. "He ran down the street with no clothes."
But the neighbor who witnessed the incident painted a different picture, saying it appeared that Newsuan had "lost his mind."
"He flipped the cop and was slinging the cop like a ragdoll," the witness said. "The cop had to shoot."
Contact Morgan Zalot at 215-854-5928 or zalotm@ phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @morganzalot. Read her blog PhillyConfidential.com.