A man who had posted an online video threatening to kill police and FBI agents supposedly tried to use his car to run down officers seeking to arrest him on Tuesday and, fearing for their lives, they shot and killed him, authorities said.
The man was killed in Upper Darby, suburban Philadelphia, as officers ordered him out of the car and he appeared ready to accelerate at them as they manned a blockade.
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said officers feared 52-year-old Joseph Pacini would kill them Tuesday and that they “did what they had to do.” Together, five officers fired about 20 shots, he said. No officers were injured.
The man’s death comes a little more than a week after a man who made similar threats shot two New York Police Department officers dead in their patrol car and then killed himself in a subway station.
Pacini posted three online videos with rambling messages and threats after a detective left a message for him regarding an altercation Monday at a fitness club, Chitwood said.
Pacini described the videos as a response to the message, saying in one that police had destroyed and tortured him and demanding the detective “back off.”
If police tried arresting him, Pacini said, there would be “serious and irreversible catastrophic consequences,” including the deaths of law enforcement officers.
Police secured an arrest warrant Tuesday.
Pacini’s record included a 2005 arrest for locking his Philadelphia landlord in an office while facing eviction and demanding $1,500 at knifepoint to leave, Chitwood said. The charges were later withdrawn, according to court records.
Pacini was living with his mother when she had him involuntarily committed, Chitwood said. The date of the commitment was not immediately available. They were still living together in a Clifton Heights apartment at the time of his death.
“Certainly in his rant on the Dec. 29 YouTube where he threatened to kill any police, FBI or CIA that came after him, or their families, it was clear that those mental health issues were still affecting his life,” Chitwood said.