Police: Philadelphia Officer Ambushed in Stable Condition

 

PHILADELPHIA (WTXF)-  Philadelphia Police Officer Jesse Hartnett who was ambushed earlier this month is now in stable condition, according to police.

Police say Edward Archer told investigators that he shot the officer in the name of Islam and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Archer ambushed Officer Jesse Hartnett as he sat in his marked cruiser at an intersection, according to police. Hartnett was struck him three times in the arm before managing to return fire, wounding Archer, who was later apprehended.

MORE FROM FOX 29 on the shooting: 

- FOX 29 Investigates: Shooting Suspect Archer Was Due in Court Monday

- WATCH: West Philadelphia's Muslim Community Reacts to Officer Shooting

- LISTEN: Officer Hartnett Radios for Help During Shooting

- Local Politicians React to Officer Ambush in West Philadelphia 

- Congressman: Shooter of Officer Acted on ISIS Orders from Syria

Authorities say Archer, who has addresses in Philadelphia and the suburb of Yeadon, used a stolen police gun in the crime.

Police Commissioner Richard Ross said the suspect fired at least 11 shots from the stolen 9mm handgun at close range, late Thursday night. He continued firing as he walked toward Officer Hartnett and eventually got up next to the car and reached through the driver's-side window.

Ross said the gun was reported stolen from an officer's home in October 2013 but they don't know how many hands it passed through before being used in the Thursday night shooting.

Commissioner Ross admitted while reviewing photos from the incident that he was "amazed Officer Hartnett is here with us today."

While in custody, detectives say the man pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State, and admitted to acting in the name of Islam.  

"We had the suspect upstairs, where homicide unit talked to him. Right away, he didn't have anything to say. But then, he stated that he pledges his allegiance to Islamic State, he follows Allah and that is the reason he was called upon to do this," said Captain James Clark, He just kept on echoing those sentiments, and he wouldn't give us anything more than that."

"According to him he believed that police defend laws that are contrary to the teachings of the Koran," Commissioner Ross said Friday.

At Archer's Lansdowne family home his brother tells FOX 29 the alleged gunman was not mentally ill and insist his brother was not connected to ISIS. Shane Archer says Edward did travel to Mecca but he believes the alleged shooting was more closely related to what he calls a mistreatment of black men than a religious statement.

Investigators believe Archer traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2011 and to Egypt in 2012, FBI special agent Eric Ruona said, and the purpose of that travel was being investigated by the FBI.  But police said there was no indication anyone else was involved in the officer's ambush

Mayor Jim Kenney said the attack wasn't about Islam. 

"In no way shape or form does anyone in this room believe that Islam or the teaching of Islam has anything to do with what we've just seen on that screen," the mayor said. "This is a criminal, with a stolen gun, trying to kill one of our officers." 

"This is absolutely one of the scariest things I've ever seen," the commissioner said. "This guy tried to execute the police officer. The police officer had no idea he was coming."

Hartnett, 33, had served eight years in the Coast Guard and joined the police five years ago. He always wanted to be a police officer, his father said.

Hartnett remains in the hospital in critical, but stable condition. 

"Our main concern at the moment and today is the well-being, and the health, recovery and rehabilitation, of Officer Hartnett," Mayor Kenney said.

"The bravery he demonstrated was absolutely remarkable. His will to live, undoubtedly saved his life, Ross stated. 

The FBI is assisting the Philadelphia Police with the investigation, and FOX 29 crews were there as investigators searched one of Archer's listed addresses.  

The gunman suspected of opening fire on a Philadelphia Police officer is charged with attempted murder along with several related offenses following the Thursday night shooting.

30-year-old Edward Archer was charged and additional charges filed against him include aggravated assault, assault of a law enforcement officer, recklessly endangering another person, possession of an instrument of crime with intent, and other related weapons charges.

Bail was denied pending a preliminary hearing January 25th. 

A recovery fund has been set up for Officer Hartnett.

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