PHILADELPHIA (AP) — 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 shots at point-blank range, authorities said Friday. Both the officer and suspect were injured 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 said Archer told police he believed the department defends laws that are contrary to Islam.
“It stands to reason there is more unknown than known,” Ross said.
Police said there was no indication anyone else was involved. Archer has addresses in Philadelphia and a suburb.
Despite being seriously wounded, Officer Jesse Hartnett got out of his car and chased the suspect before police apprehended him.
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.
The officer returned fire, hitting his attacker at least three times. Hartnett, 33, was in stable condition.
“I don’t know how this officer survived,” Ross said.
“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.”
The gun used by Archer was stolen from an officer’s home in 2013, police said.
The officer’s father, Robert Hartnett, said his son was in good spirits.
“He’s a tough guy,” he said.
Hartnett 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.
When Hartnett called in to report shots fired, he shouted, “I’m bleeding heavily!” into his police radio.
The suspect ran away but was quickly apprehended by other officers, authorities said.
Ross, who was sworn in as commissioner Tuesday, said there was no apparent motive for the attack.
“Why someone would do something so absolutely evil is just beyond us,” Ross said.
There was no immediate word on the suspect’s condition. Officer Christine O’Brien said the man was stuck at least once in the buttock.
Jim Kenney, in his first week as mayor of the nation’s fifth-largest city, said, “There are just too many guns on the streets, and I think our national government needs to do something about that.”
His statement comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s announcement Tuesday of his plan to tighten gun control laws.
This story has been corrected to show the officer’s first name is spelled Jesse, not Jessie.