DA: Harrisburg spree shooter had no known terror ties

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A gunman killed while firing at police in a Friday afternoon shooting spree has no known links to terror groups or activity, investigators said.

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico held a news conference on Thursday to provide an update on the case. He said investigators have found no evidence that Ahmed El-Mofty was radicalized, and no evidence he had a grudge against the police.

“It’s frustrating for us trying to figure out the motivation,” Marsico said. “Certainly there are some indicators we follow up on, but there is no known nexus at this time to any terrorist group, to ISIS or ISIL.”

Authorities are also confident that El-Mofty acted alone.

His friends and family have told police that El-Mofty was depressed about money, his employment, and the little contact he had with his two children since his divorce.

El-Mofty, 51, of Steelton, immigrated to the United States from Egypt in 2006 and became a naturalized citizen. He later went back to his native country and spent about three years there before returning to central Pennsylvania in October. Marsico said El-Mofty legally purchased the two handguns he used for the shooting spree in November and December.

The rampage began shortly after 4 p.m. in the 100 block of State Street, where El-Mofty fired at least seven shots from his Hyundai Sonata. Minutes later, he fired about five shots near North Third and State streets, Marsico said.

El-Mofty then fired four rounds into a Capitol Police officer’s vehicle as their cars passed on North Third at Walnut Street. Marsico said a driver following El-Mofty was able to get a photo of the Hyundai, and that gave police a good description of the car and the license plate.

The police were looking for the Hyundai when, around 4:43 p.m., El-Mofty drove up behind a state trooper and opened fire on her vehicle, striking her with one shot that caused a minor injury. At least two other rounds struck the vehicle’s headrest and visor, Marsico said.

About eight minutes later, city police stopped the Hyundai at 17th and Mulberry streets. Marsico said El-Mofty immediately stepped out of his car and began firing as he approached the officers. El-Mofty then returned to his vehicle, possibly for more ammunition, and was killed in an exchange of gunfire.

Police later found about 500 rounds of 9mm ammunition on or near him as well as two propane cylinders, including one in a fanny pack strapped around his waist.

The investigation continues into whether the police shooting was justified. Marsico said he believes the officers acted “appropriately, commendably, and heroically.”

Authorities want to hear from witnesses who have not yet spoken to police. They also want to talk to an unknown woman who helped the injured trooper. Anyone with information should call 1-800-CALL-FBI.

Marsico also released audio of the police radio traffic during the incident. He reminded the public to use discretion when listening.

 

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