Philadelphia – A city police officer was shot and wounded on Thursday. The attacker later confessed he did it in the name of Islam using a service weapon that had been stolen from a police officer home in October 2013, the police said.
Officer Jesse Hartnett, 33, was hit three times in his left arm late Thursday night. Hartnett was driving in a marked cruiser through the intersection of 60th and Spruce Streets in West Philadelphia when he received the 3 bullet impacts. Even though he was seriously injured, Harnett got out of his car to pursue the gunman, firing back and hitting in the buttocks. The suspect ran away but other officers manage to quickly capture him.
Richard Ross Jr., a Philadelphia new police commissioner, said at a news conference on Friday that the attacker was taken into police custody minutes after the attack and confessed to committing the act in the name of Islam.
“I follow Allah. I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic State and that’s why I did what I did,” James Clarke, a police homicide captain, told CNN the suspect said to investigators.
However, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said that he did not believe that Islam or the teaching of Islam had anything to do with the attack. The Council of American-Islamic Relations executive director in Philadelphia, Jacob Bender, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that they needed more information to assure it was a terrorist act.
“This is absolutely one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. This could have easily been a police funeral,” the commissioner said. “This guy tried to execute the police officer. The police officer had no idea he was coming,” Ross added.
The attacker was identified on Friday as Edward Archer, a 30-year-old man with two registered addresses, one in Yeadon, an area outside of Philadelphia and the other in the city of Philadelphia. Both addresses will be searched by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.
The city’s District Attorney said that Archer had been arrested and pleaded guilty to assault and firearms charges in 2013.
Hartnett is an officer in the 18th district and has been in the force for five years. Hartnett is a graduate of Delaware County Community College, where he studied security and has served in the U.S. Coast Guard as well as working for Exelon Nuclear.
Last year, six officers were shot and killed in ambushes. Other 51 officer were killed in “felonious incidents” during 2015.