On Saturday night in North Philadelphia, a Temple University police officer was fatally shot while responding to a crime there, according to officials.
According to Jennifer Griffin, the university’s vice president for public safety, it was the first death in the line of duty in the campus police department’s history. The shooting was reported a few blocks west of campus after 7 p.m., Temple said in a statement.
It said the officer was shot trying to apprehend a person suspected of robbing a convenience store. The shooting happened several blocks from the store, the statement said. According to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, the officer was shot when he attempted to stop a carjacking.
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The officer was taken to Temple University Hospital, where he died, she said. He was later identified as Christopher Fitzgerald. “Officer Fitzgerald gave his life protecting the Temple community, and we are forever indebted to him,” the Temple University Police Association said. “He valiantly served the temple community and the people of Philadelphia.”
Temple police said a suspect was arrested custody Sunday morning. Robert Clark, the supervisory deputy U.S. marshal for Eastern Pennsylvania, told NBC Philadelphia that the suspect was arrested with Fitzgerald’s handcuffs as part of a “tradition.”
“We felt it was important to remember Officer Fitzgerald by once again placing his cuffs on the suspect,” Clark said. Police in Philadelphia identified the suspect as 18-year-old Buckingham Township resident Miles Pfeffer on Sunday night. A police officer’s murder, resisting arrest, crimes involving guns, robbery, carjacking, theft, and receiving stolen property are among the charges that led to his imprisonment.
If he has hired, legal counsel is not immediately evident. An inquiry for comment was not immediately answered by The Defender Association of Philadelphia, a nonprofit organization that acts as the city’s public defender’s office. University President Jason Wingard said in a statement issued before he was identified, that the officer was a victim of “senseless gun violence.”
“There are simply no words that can make sense of this tragedy,” Wingard said. “It tears at our sense of community and safety.” Gov. Josh Shapiro tweeted that he and first lady Lori Shapiro were “devastated” for the family of the officer, who was killed while “bravely serving his community.”