A police officer in Philadelphia was shot multiple times late Thursday by an attacker who later said he had pledged loyalty to the Islamic State, officials said Friday.

Authorities described the attack as a brazen assassination attempt that took place on a quiet West Philadelphia intersection and marveled that the officer was able to not only survive, but return fire and injure the shooter.

The attacker, who was firing a stolen police gun, was taken into police custody and “confessed to committing this cowardly act in the name of Islam,” Richard Ross Jr., the city’s new police commissioner, said at a news conference Friday.

Ross said that the attacker is a 30-year-old man from Yeadon, an area outside of Philadelphia, who also has an address in the city. He was identified Friday as Edward Archer, and the office of Philadelphia’s District Attorney said he had been arrested and pleaded guilty to assault and firearms charges in 2013.

Police say Archer told detectives he was pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, the militant group also known as ISIS and ISIL.

The shooting in Philadelphia comes at a time of heightened fears about terrorism nationwide, occurring a little more than a month after a husband-and-wife pair in San Bernardino, Calif., killed 14 people in what was later deemed a terror attack. Shortly after the shooting, the female attacker there went on Facebook and said they both pledged allegiance to the Islamic State’s emir, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

And hours before the shooting in Philadelphia, federal prosecutors announced that two Palestinian men who were born in Iraq and came to the United States as refugees had been charged as part of terrorism investigations.

Archer told Philadelphia police officials he believes they enforce laws that are contrary to the Koran, Ross said Friday.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, who was sworn into office Monday, said Archer did “not represent” Islam and denounced the attacker’s invocation of the faith.

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

The FBI said they were assisting the Philadelphia Police Department in the investigation, with the local police still leading the probe. An FBI spokesman said the bureau was going work with police on search warrants at the addresses known for Archer.

“He certainly was targeting police,” said Ross, who became the city’s police commissioner Tuesday. “He wasn’t just targeting a motorist driving down the street … he was trying to assassinate this police officer.”‘

Ross said Archer fired 13 shots at Officer Jesse Hartnett, a uniformed officer who was driving his police car when the attack happened at about 11:40 p.m. on Thursday. At one point, Archer got so close to the car that he had his gun “inside the car, firing at the officer,” Ross said.

Hartnett, 33, was hit three times in his left arm, which was broken and sustained “significant damage,” Ross said. He was listed in critical, but stable, condition at Presbyterian Hospital on Friday, authorities said.

At a news conference Friday, police showed a series of still surveillance images they said were captured at the intersection of South 60th and Spruce streets.

In these images, a man wearing a white robe over his clothing is seen running through the crosswalk toward a police cruiser with his hand outstretched pointing a gun. He is then seen appearing to put the gun into the car’s window before another images shows him fleeing.

“When you look at the video . this is absolutely one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen,” Ross said. “This guy tried to execute the police officer. The police officer had no idea he was coming.”

Hartnett fired at Archer as he tried to run south on 60th Street before other police officers took him into custody, Ross said.

“It’s amazing he’s alive,” Ross said. He added: “We’re just lucky, that’s all I can say. I can’t even believe he was able to survive this.”

Court records show that Archer had been charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats and several other things for an incident in 2012. Last year, he pleaded guilty to the charges of simple assault and carrying a firearm without a license.

Archer’s mother, Valerie Holliday, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that her son was a devout Muslim who had suffered head injuries.

“He’s been acting kind of strange lately,” she said. “He’s been talking to himself … laughing and mumbling. He’s been hearing voices in his head. We asked him to get medical help.”

Gov. Tom Wolf released a statement saying the shooting “is horrifying and has no place in Pennsylvania.”

“We are thankful that Officer Hartnett is alive and not facing life-threatening injuries after being ambushed,” Wolf said. “We wish him and his family the best during his recovery.”

Sen. Bob Casey said that the shooting highlighted the danger faced by law enforcement officers nationwide.

“This was an act of barbarism and the accused must be held fully accountable,” Casey said in a statement. “Those who carry out attacks in the name of ISIS or any other terrorist organization must be fully prosecuted. This individual and any who would advocate similar acts are not representative of any religion – they are thugs, and criminals.”

A Philadelphia police officer was shot and killed last year when he interrupted a robbery at a video game store, becoming the city’s first officer fatally shot in the line of duty since 2012.

Law enforcement officers nationwide have been voicing increasing concerns about ambush attacks in recent years. In 2014, 15 officers were shot and killed in ambushes, more than any other type of shooting and matching 2012 for the most such deaths in a decade.

Police officers have described feeling anxious amid protests over how law enforcement uses deadly force, with current and former officers saying they feel heightened tension, but the concerns being expressed about ambushes predated the demonstrations that have cropped up nationwide.

A study released last year by the Department of Justice examining ambushes or planned attacks between 1990 and 2013 said that concerns about violence targeting officers were on the rise. That study also said that while the number of ambush attacks was steady over the period examined, the proportion of fatal attacks attributed to ambushes increased.

There were 51 officers killed in “felonious incidents” last year,according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, a nonprofit group that tracks line-of-duty deaths. That is down from 61 a year earlier. In addition, 73 officers died last year in “non-felonious incidents,” largely car crashes and job-related illnesses.

Last year, six officers were shot and killed in ambushes, the fund found. All told, the number of officers fatally shot is significantly down from the 1970s, when an average of 127 officers were shot and killed each year. Between 2000 and 2009, an average of 57 officers were fatally shot each year.


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