A man who police say opened fire on a Philadelphia Police officer late Thursday night has a history of violent behavior and has “pledged allegiance to the Islamic State,” police said during a press conference Friday afternoon.
Edward Archer, 30, of Yeadon, has not yet been charged but has been named as a suspect in the shooting of police officer Jesse Hartnett, who was shot at 13 times with a stolen police service pistol in what Police Commissioner Richard Ross described as “one of the scariest things” he’d ever seen.
Hartnett, who was hit three times after being flagged down by the shooter near 60th and Spruce streets, is reported to be out of surgery at Penn Presbyterian Hospital and in stable condition. The suspect, who was also shot in the buttock, is being treated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Police surveillance video shows a man wearing a long white frock, black pants and walking into a crosswalk to flag down the police vehicle with his gun drawn. ABC News obtained and distributed copies of the surveillance photos.
New Mayor Jim Kenney, who has been on the job for less than a week, condemned the act in a press conference and said “In no way shape or form does anyone believe … That Islam had anything to do with” the incident.
A person who identified himself as a Philadelphia Police Officer posted about the shooting on Facebook, recounting the police response to the reported shooting.
“Every cop in the city and surrounding counties responded,” Jonny Castro wrote. “I was only 2 minutes away, but it felt like it took me an hour. We almost crashed 3 separate times trying to get to you. Other officers (who are in my squad and that I’m damn proud of) chased after the shooter and caught him a block away, the smoking pistol still in his possession.”
He continued: “God was watching over you. You did great last night. You made the 18th district and the entire Department proud of you. You are a hero. January 7th will forever be your alive day.”
This attack happened one month after an incident at Al Aqsa Islamic Society in Germantown. In early December, a severed pig’s head was found on the doorstep of the mosque. The City announced it was investigating the incident as a possible violation of Philadelphia’s legislation on ethnic intimidation.
Then-Mayor Michael Nutter, Mayor Jim Kenney and then police commissioner Charles Ramsey responded by denouncing the act at a press conference with a group of interfaith leaders. Ramsey announced that police would be paying special attention to Philadelphia mosques.
Kenney, in his first week in office, said the shooting of the officer represents a larger problem.
“There are just too many guns on the streets,” he said, “and I think our national government needs to do something about that.”
His statements come just days after President Obama announced plans to issue executive orders that would tighten gun control across the country. His orders come after Congress has repeatedly failed to pass gun control legislation that would, among other things, increase the use of federal background checks on individuals attempting to purchase firearms.
In addition, Obama’s gun control action calls for penalties for gun dealers who don’t report stolen or missing weapons, new rules that allow for police and federal officers to run more frequent background checks as well as new funding for mental health programming.
In 2015, Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson III was shot and killed after walking in on an armed robbery in a North Philadelphia Game Stop. In addition, seven Philadelphia police officers were injured in shootings in 2015, five of whom were hurt in one incident in May.
Billy Penn will update this story as more information becomes available.