WOUNDED OFFICER GAVE CHASE IN PA.
The suspect, whowas shot and arrested, said he acted in the name of Islam.
Philadelphia police say a man using a gun stolen from police ambushed and repeatedly shot a police officer in the name of Islam.
philadelphia » Aman using a gun stolen from police said he was acting in the name of Islam when he ambushed an officer sitting in his marked cruiser at an intersection, firing more than a dozen shots at point- blank range, authorities said Friday. The officer and the man were wounded during the barrage of gunfire, they said.
The man, 30- year- old Edward Archer, also pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group when hewas questioned after his Jesse arrest in late Thursday’s Hartnett shooting, police said. Archer’s was shot mother, Valerie Holliday, three times in told The Philadelphia his left arm. Inquirer he had been
hearing voices recently and had felt targeted by police and the family asked him to get help.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross described the attack on Officer Jesse Hartnett, captured on a police surveillance camera, as an attempted assassination.
“He just came out of nowhere and started firing on him,” Ross said. “He just started firing with one aim and one aim only, to kill him.”
Investigators believe Archer traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2011 and to Egypt in 2012, FBI special agent Eric Ruona said, and the purpose of that travel was being investigated by the FBI. But police said there was no indication anyone else was involved in the officer’s ambush.
Ross said Archer told police he believed the police department defends laws contrary to Islam. Although Archer “clearly gave us a motive,” Ross said, it’s up to police to see what the evidence shows.
Federal agents joined local police in searching two Philadelphia- area properties associated with Archer, including the home where his mother lives in suburban Yeadon, authorities said.
Capt. James Clark said Archer told investigators: “I follow Allah. I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic State, and that’s why I did what I did.”
Archer’s mother described him as a devout Muslim. Jacob Bender, executive director of the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group, said he contacted about five inner- city mosques and found no one who knew of Archer. He said the motive for the ambush still appears to be conjecture.
“I think the important point is not to lay the blame for this on the entire Islamic community,” he said.
The gunman fired at least 13 shots toward Hartnett, getting up next to the car and reaching through the driver’s window, investigators said.
Despite being seriously wounded, Hartnett got out of his car, chased the shooter and returned fire, wounding Archer in the buttocks, police said. Other officers chased Archer and apprehended him.
Hartnett, 33, was shot three times in his left arm and will require multiple surgeries; hewas listed in stable condition. Archer was treated and released into police custody.
Ross called it “absolutely amazing” that Hartnett survived.
“It’s nothing short of miraculous, and we’re thankful for that,” he said.
In March, Archer pleaded guilty to firearms and assault charges stemming from a 2012 case butwas released immediately and placed on probation, court records show. Records also show he was scheduled to be sentenced Monday in suburban Philadelphia in a traffic and forgery case.
The attorney who represented him in the firearms case was unavailable to comment Friday because he was in court, his office said. A message for his lawyer in the forgery case was not immediately returned.
Surveillance footage of the attack showed the gunman dressed in a white, longsleeved tunic. Asked whether the robe was considered Muslim garb, Ross said he didn’t know and didn’t think it mattered.
The 9mm pistol used by Archer was recovered at the scene of the shooting, police said. It had been stolen from an officer’s home in October 2013, investigators said. Officials said theywere trying to figure out how Archer got the weapon andwhether it passed through other people’s hands after the theft.
In an image froma surveillance camera, aman fires a gun at a police cruiser driven by Officer Jesse Hartnett in Philadelphia late Thursday. After his arrest, Edward Archer told police he was acting in the name of Islam. Philadelphia Police Department