By Steve Beck, Al Novack

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia police officers were forced to open fire and fatally shoot a suspect they say initially fired a weapon at them.

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The incident happened around 10:40 p.m. on Thursday in the 5600 block of Lebanon Avenue in the city’s Overbrook section.

According to investigators, officers spotted a suspicious male coming out an alleyway with a bag and they wanted to talk to the male in relation to a recent rash of burglaries in the area.

Authorities say the suspect, identified as 32-year-old William Washington, ran from them and opened fire on officers during the pursuit. The officers were forced to return fire and the suspect was shot in the chest. He was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania but was later pronounced dead.

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“When the suspect fired at police, he fired at the police within feet from the police officers. So the police officers were very, very lucky that they weren’t struck by the suspect’s gunfire,” Chief Inspector Scott Small explained.

No officers were injured during the incident.

The deadly shooting remains under investigation by the police department’s Internal Affairs Unit, but police say Washington had a lengthy criminal record that included robberies and violations related to narcotics and firearms.

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