A 25-year-old man ambushed a Philadelphia police officer sitting in a marked car in West Philly on Friday night, injuring her and shooting five others — including a University of Pennsylvania police officer — before he was shot and killed by police. One of the four civilians he shot is dead.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross said during a press conference Saturday that at about 11:18 p.m. Friday, the man fired 18 rounds at Sgt. Sylvia Young, who was sitting in a marked car at 48th and Sansom streets. Glenn then went on what Ross described as a “shooting spree,” firing into a bar and a parked car, hitting four civilians, the Penn Police Officer and a 25-year-old woman who was a passenger in the parked car and was pronounced dead just before 2 a.m.
The man, who has been identified by police as Nicholas Glenn, of West Philly, had expressed a hatred for police officers and probation officers in a letter obtained by police. Ross said he was carrying an envelope that read “Doomed People” on it.
“This was a horrific night,” Ross said. “…We know that he’s carried out one of the most violent acts that we’ve seen in Philadelphia in a long time.”
This is what we know so far:
Glenn shot a total of six people Friday night, killing Sarah Salih, a 25-year-old woman who was a student at Community College of Philadelphia and dreamed of being a paralegal. Her father, Beyan Salih, was woken in the middle of the night by the shootout, but didn’t learn it had taken his daughter’s life until he returned home from work Saturday afternoon.
Both officers shot — the Philadelphia police sergeant from the 22nd district and University of Pennsylvania officer Ed Miller — are in stable condition.
Three other civilians shot are stable. Their names have not yet been released, but police said they include a 36-year-old man shot three times, a 42-year-old man shot twice and a 41-year-old woman shot once. Glenn was killed by police responding to the scene.
Ross described Glenn as “well-known to the police department,” but said there was no evidence he had been radicalized in any way. Police discovered the man was carrying an envelope that read “doomed” and a “rambling” letter that expressed he had a problem with police officers and his own probation officer.
“It is rambling, and so it would be very difficult to glean anything from that,” Ross said. “It’s more about himself than who he wanted to harm or anything like that.”
Ross said it was pretty clear Glenn had thought about the shooting before it occurred, saying of Sgt. Young: “He clearly was trying to assassinate her.”
Glenn also has a pretty extensive rap sheet, including numerous drug-related charges and, according to The Inquirer, “he had also been arrested and charged in connection with a gang-related rape in a November 2009 incident, but these charges were later dropped. He also had a troubled childhood — he was partially raised in a West Philly foster home because his mother was struggling with addiction. “I guess he snapped in prison,” his foster mother, Joan Griffin, told The Inquirer.
Police said a weapon and magazines were recovered at the scene, but little information was released about the gun used in the shooting.
It’s the second ambush this year
This incident is the second time this year that a police officer was ambushed by a gunman in West Philadelphia. On Jan. 7, Ofc. Jesse Hartnett was sitting in his cruiser when he was shot 13 times near 60th and Spruce streets, which falls in the same police district as last night’s shooting.
The gunman in that case was identified by police as 30-year-old Edward Archer, who confessed and said he shot the officer “in the name of Islam.” It was revealed earlier this month that the gun Archer used was a stolen police firearm.
During Saturday’s press conference, Ross said the fact that Friday’s incident was the second this year was deeply troubling, saying he didn’t want to get political but “this shouldn’t happen in America” and “we have to do better on gun violence.”