Police say suspect shot Philly cop in ‘Islam’ name

Errin Whack
Associated Press

Philadelphia — A man 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. Both the officer and suspect were wounded during the barrage of gunfire.

The suspect, 30-year-old Edward Archer, also pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group when he was questioned after his arrest in the shooting late Thursday, police said.

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.”

Ross said Archer told police he believed the department defends laws that are contrary to Islam. Police said there was no indication anyone else was involved. But Ross also said “it stands to reason there is more unknown than known.”

Federal agents joined local police in the execution of search warrants at two Philadelphia area properties associated with Archer, investigators said.

Capt. James Clark, head of the homicide unit, 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, Valerie Holliday, told the Philadelphia Inquirer he has been hearing voices recently and that family asked him to get help. She also said her son felt targeted by police. She described him as devout Muslim.

The gunman fired at least 13 shots toward Hartnett and eventually got up next to the car and reached through the driver’s-side window, investigators said.

Despite being seriously wounded, Hartnett got out of his car, chased the suspect and returned fire, wounding his attacker in the buttocks, police said. Other officers chased Archer and apprehended him.

Hartnett, 33, was shot three times in the arm and will require multiple surgeries, but was listed in stable condition. Archer was treated and released into police custody.

Mayor Jim Kenney called Archer’s actions “abhorrent” and “terrible” and have nothing to do with Islam.