Crime

Cops: Man In Islamic Garb Ambushed Philadelphia Officer, Fired 13 Rounds With Semi-Auto Pistol

| by Nik Bonopartis
Philadelphia Police.Philadelphia Police.

In an attack Philadelphia's police commissioner called "absolutely evil," a man tried to execute a police officer by pumping 13 rounds into the officer's cruiser with a semi-automatic pistol.

Officer Jesse Hartnett was driving in his patrol car at 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 when a man, later identified as 30-year-old Edward Archer, flagged him down on the street. As Hartnett slowed down, Archer began firing from the front before angling toward the driver's side window, at one point leaning into the driver's side window to shoot the officer at point blank range, Philadelphia's WCAU reported.

A surveillance video of the attack shows a wounded Hartnett -- who had been hit by three of the rounds -- managing to get out of the car and give chase to the suspect. Hartnett fired his gun three times, hitting Archer once. It was enough to slow the alleged attacker down, police said, and police officers responding to back up the wounded officer caught Archer a few blocks away.

"I can't even believe that [the officer] was able to survive this," Police Commissioner Richard Ross said, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Hartnett was taken to Penn Presbyterian Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition as of Jan. 8. He suffered a broken arm and nerve damage, the newspaper reported, and was recovering after surgery. Archer was also expected to survive.

Video of the incident shows Archer wearing traditional Islamic garb, and Philadelphia police said they had notified the FBI and were investigating whether the shooting had religious motivations. When officials spoke at a press conference on the morning of Jan. 8, they said they had not established a motive for the shooting.

Robert Hartnett, 58, the officer's father, called his son's survival "a miracle."

"It was shocking but the officers were very excellent and comforted me and got me down there," Robert told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Jesse was groggy when they finally got him out but he was aware of his surroundings and knew what was going on."

Archer's mother, who was reached by the Philadelphia Inquirer, said her son is a devout Muslim who believed he was targeted by the police. Archer had been "acting kind of strange lately," his mother, Valerie Holliday, said. Her son was "talking to himself ... laughing and mumbling" and heard voices in his head, she said.

"I don't know how he got the gun," Holliday said. "I'm still hoping they have the wrong child."

Archer has an earlier conviction for assault and had a pending case in which he was accused of forging documents and driving with a suspended license. Police have not yet charged him in relation to the shooting, but said they expect to file charges after they learn more about the details of the attack.

Sources: Philadelphia Inquirer, WCAU / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons