A man who ambushed a police officer in the streets of Philadelphia Thursday night said he did it “in the name of Islam,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said Friday. Police Captain James Clark added that the suspect, 30-year-old Edward Archer, “stated that he pledges his allegiance to Islamic State, he follows Allah and that is the reason he was called upon to do this.”
But Ross said there is no indication that Archer actually has any concrete ties to radical Islam or the terror group.
The shooting took place at 11:40 Thursday night. Surveillance video shows Archer approaching a police cruiser driven by officer Jesse Hartnett. According to Philadelphia law enforcement, Archer then fired 13 shots at the 33-year old officer using a stolen gun, striking him three times in the arm.
“He just came out of nowhere and started firing,” Ross said at a Friday afternoon news conference.
As the suspect fled, Hartnett was able to return fire, hitting Archer three times. The suspect was subsequently captured by police. Ross said Harnett is being treated for wounds that are not life-threatening. Archer is hospitalized in unknown condition.
Ross said it was too early to tell whether the suspect had help planning the attack, or was connected to any broader radical Islamic movement.
“I would qualify that by saying I just don’t know,” Ross said, when asked about a wider about whether Archer had a relationship with, or a connection to, ISIS. “I’m just hesitant to jump to conclusions one way or the other.”
The shooting follows the Dec. 2, 2015 San Bernardino terror attacks by U.S. citizen Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, his Pakistani-born wife, who shot up a holiday office party, leaving 14 dead. The couple was later killed by police. According to the FBI, both San Bernardino shooters had been radicalized by some form of Islamic extremism, but it remains a mystery what group, or individual, inspired the pair.
Archer’s claim of committing the attack in the name of Islam is only likely to fuel increasingly harsh rhetoric from 2016 Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. In the wake of San Bernardino, and citing the threat from Islamic extremism, the billionaire businessman called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police Department