The shooting of a black man wielding a knife by police has sparked intense rioting in Philadelphia overnight.

Hundreds of people gathered outside a city police station on Monday night as news spread about the shooting dead of 27 year-old Walter Wallace Jr. earlier in the day.

Wallace was repeatedly warned to “put the knife down” by police before they opened fire, with multiple shots ringing out as he fell to the ground. He was later pronounced dead upon arrival at a nearby hospital.

Many local residents confronted police after the shooting, criticizing their colleagues for taking lethal action.

Protestors then gathered at Malcolm X Park and marched to a nearby police station, chanting, “Say his name: Walter Wallace.”

Bricks, trash cans and other objects were thrown at police who had stood in a line with riot gear close to police headquarters, with batons eventually being drawn on the protestors.

One female officer was also hit by a truck during the riots and taken to hospital, shortly before 1am. A total of 30 police officers are thought to have been injured in the violence.

Looting ensued in a number of stores in West Philadelphia throughout the night.