Man charged in South Street shooting

Posted: June 04, 2013

A Fern Rock man faces attempted-murder charges after police said he made a pass at a woman on South Street Saturday night, fired a shot at her and her companions when they told him to leave her alone, and then fired at officers who chased him down.

After a week in which the Police Department faced criticism for high numbers of officer-involved shootings, officials cited Saturday night's encounter as an example of police restraint: The officers pursuing Isaac Carmichael did not fire back.

Police said Carmichael, 42, made attempted passes toward a woman on the 600 block of South Street who was with two friends around 1:47 a.m. When the women told Carmichael to leave them alone, he grabbed one and showed her a gun tucked into his waistband, police said. Carmichael then crossed South Street, pulled out the gun and fired a shot at the three women.

The bullet hit a car as passersby ran for cover. A police sergeant and officer nearby saw the mayhem and ran toward Carmichael, who was fleeing on the 700 block of Kater Street.

Carmichael fired shots at both officers as they chased him down Kater Street.

By then, more officers from the 17th District had arrived, and they helped the sergeant take Carmichael into custody and confiscate his .32-caliber semiautomatic handgun. There was one live round left in the chamber, police said.

Police said Carmichael had three previous convictions, including two for firearms violations. He is also a scofflaw, with four outstanding tickets, they said.

Authorities said the officers involved would have been justified in firing back at Carmichael but didn't want to risk hurting bystanders. Carmichael's arrest followed a week in which there were seven police-involved shootings and four deaths, prompting Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey to call for a review of police-involved shootings - and to ask for federal assistance with it.

Six of those shootings involved men carrying handguns; the seventh involved a man who lunged at police with a knife.

On Sunday, officials stressed that the officers involved in the Saturday-night arrest had not fired their weapons. "It's the South Street area at 1:45 on a Saturday night when it's warm weather. You can imagine the amount of people who are out there," Lt. John Stanford said. "They took that into account by not discharging. It's just a blessing that no one was injured as a result of this."

Carmichael has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, firearms violations, and related offenses.


Contact Aubrey Whelan at 610-313-8112, awhelan@philly.com.

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