Trooper leaves hospital, teen charged in Philly chase
Philadelphia — A 17-year-old charged with shooting a trooper during a chaotic car chase that ended in a fiery crash on a downtown Philadelphia highway had been driving the car when it was stopped for an expired tag, state police said.
The trooper was released from a hospital Wednesday with a bullet in his shoulder, and the suspect was held on $3 million bail.
“(I’m) happy to be going home for Thanksgiving. I’m feeling much better,” Trooper Patrick Casey, 31, said as left the hospital after an overnight stay.
Giovanny Cotto was charged as an adult with attempted murder, risking a catastrophe, weapons charges and other felonies after police said he started a behind-the-wheel gunfight that ended when his car struck a school bus. Both vehicles burst into flames.
Cotto had stayed home sick from school Tuesday morning and was stopped by police hours later turned up hours later, police said. He then sped off after police removed three passengers and soon slammed into the bus.
Casey was shot after he arrived as backup for the traffic stop and pursued Cotto when he fled.
Casey at one point got in front of the fleeing vehicle to try to force a stop, only to have Cotto instead ram his cruiser, police said. The teen then pulled alongside him and opened fire, Capt. James Raykovitz said.
The school bus was empty except for the driver, who escaped unharmed. The suspect again started shooting after the crash, while Casey returned fire, authorities said.
Cotto’s father, Hector Cotto, told reporters his son was “a good kid” who “made a wrong decision.”
“No matter what happened, I’m going to be there for my son,” he said.
Giovanny Cotto has a juvenile record that includes drug charges, state police said. Police recovered at least one gun after his arrest on Interstate 676, a main artery through the city that shut down amid the melee.
Police plan to speak to the owner of the 1997 Toyota Camry to see if Cotto had permission to drive it. His passengers have not been charged.
Cotto’s preliminary hearing was set for Dec. 10. Court records do not yet list a defense lawyer.