Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Law Enforcement | philadelphia police | islam | officer shot | isis

Man Who Shot Philly Police Officer Cited Islam as Motive

Image: Man Who Shot Philly Police Officer Cited Islam as Motive
Police on Jan. 8 walk through the scene of a shooting ambush of Officer Jesse Hartnett, who was shot 13 times at close range in Philadelphia. (Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 08 Jan 2016 01:53 PM

A Philadelphia police officer was shot point blank and seriously wounded in an ambush as he sat in his patrol car late Thursday — an attack launched by gunman who said he repeatedly pulled the trigger in the name of Islam.

Miraculously, the officer, 33-year-old Jesse Hartnett, escaped with only a broken arm.

The suspect, who was shot in the buttocks and arrested, gave a full confession, citing allegiance to Islam and pledging loyalty to the Islamic State terror group, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross told reporters.

He was identified as Edward Archer, 30, and police said he used a gun stolen in October 2013 from a police officer's residence.

"He has confessed to committing this cowardly act in the name of Islam," said Ross, adding there was no evidence as yet the shooter was working with anyone else.

"He was savvy enough to stop just short of implicating himself in a conspiracy," Ross said. "He doesn't appear to be a stupid individual, just an extremely violent one."

Philadelphia Homicide Capt. James Clarke told CNN that Archer blurted out: "I follow Allah. I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic State and that's why I did what I did."

Using a semiautomatic pistol, Archer allegedly fired about 13 shots into the window of Hartnett's patrol car around 11:30 p.m., Ross told reporters.

As he walked toward the vehicle dressed in a long white coat, the gunman repeatedly fired shot after shot, eventually getting close enough to reach in the window and aim point blank at Hartnett.

In a chilling police radio recording, Hartnett is heard making a desperate plea for help as the gunman tries to kill him.

"Shots fired! ... I'm bleeding heavily!" he is heard screaming. "I'm bleeding. Get us another unit out here!"

"We're just lucky, that's all I can say. I can't even believe that he was able to survive this," Ross told reporters. "This guy tried to execute the police officer. The police officer had no idea he was coming. It's amazing he's alive."

He added that a video of the attempted assassination was "absolutely one of the scariest things I've ever seen."

Hartnett was taken to Penn Presbyterian Hospital where he underwent surgery for a broken left arm, which was hit by three shots. The officer was in stable condition, but may have suffered some nerve damage.

"Fortunately, he's awake. He was coherent. He's OK," Ross said.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said he was "thankful that Officer Hartnett is alive and not facing life-threatening injuries.

"We wish him and his family the best during his recovery. This alleged intentional act of violence against an officer seeking to help a fellow citizen is horrifying and has no place in Pennsylvania."

Archer, who lives in the Philadelphia suburb of Yeadon, was struck in the buttocks as cops attempted to arrest him. There was no word on his condition.

The suspect's mother, Valarie Holliday, indicated that he is mentally ill and investigators do not know yet if the suspect was indeed radicalized or tied to terrorism, Philly.com reported.

The wounded cop's dad, Robert Hartnett, told Philly.com his son's survival is "a miracle."

Jesse Hartnett served 14 years in with the U.S. Coast Guard, joining shortly after Sept. 11, 2001 and was active duty until August 2008. He then served in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves until November 2015 before joining the Philadelphia police force.

The incident is just over a month after a husband-and-wife team in San Bernardino, Calif., executed 14 people in the name of the Islamic State's emir, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney attempted to downplay the religious connection in Archer's confession, insisting the gunman did not represent Islam.

"This is a criminal with a stolen gun who tried to kill one of our officers," Kenney said. "This has nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Muslim faith."

Archer's mother told Philly.com her son was the eldest of seven children and suffered head injuries from playing football and from a moped crash.

"He's been acting kind of strange lately. He's been talking to himself . . . laughing and mumbling," Holliday told the website. "He's been hearing voices in his head. We asked him to get medical help."

She said her son is devout Muslim who has practiced the faith "for a long time."

"I don't know how he got the gun. I'm still hoping they have the wrong child," she added.

Archer was to have been sentenced Monday in Delaware County after being convicted of forging documents, careless driving and driving with a suspended or revoked license, according to Philly.com.

He reportedly was charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy, firearms offenses and terroristic threats in a January 2012 incident but later, but pleaded guilty to simple assault.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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A Philadelphia police officer was shot point blank and seriously wounded in an ambush as he sat in his patrol car late Thursday - an attack launched by gunman who said he repeatedly pulled the trigger in the name of Islam.
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Friday, 08 Jan 2016 01:53 PM
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