New details have come out about the shooting of Temple University officer Christopher Fitzgerald after authorities held a press conference.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Temple University President Dr. James Wingard, Temple University Public Safety Director Dr. Jennifer Griffin, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, District Attorney Larry Krasner, and Staff Inspector Ernest Ransom gathered on Tuesday afternoon to hold a press conference about the shooting and how the suspect was captured so quickly.
On Sunday, February 19th, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner charged 18-year-old Miles Pfeffer from Bucks County, PA with murder, murder of a law enforcement officer, robbery, theft, evading arrest, disarming a law enforcement officer, carjacking, terroristic threats, obstruction of justice, and related firearm offences in the death of Temple University Officer Christopher Fitzgerald, and the subsequent crimes Pfeffer committed that day.
According to Staff Inspector Ernest Ransom from the Philadelphia Police Department’s Homicide Unit, Officer Fitzgerald was in full uniform in a patrol vehicle when he observed three males wearing all black clothing and black face coverings on the 1800 block of E Montgomery Avenue. Ransom said this particular area has been subject to a series of robberies and carjacking in the recent months.
Officer Fitzgerald attempted to conduct a pedestrian investigation when the three suspects fled on foot away from the officer.
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On Saturday, February 18th at 7:12 p.m., Temple Police Officer Fitzgerald went on the police radio to say he was in a foot pursuit of the suspects on 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue.
Two of the male suspects, where able to flee away and hide, while the third suspect, Miles Pfeffer continued to be in pursuit by Officer Fitzgerald.
Police where able to recover surveillance video from the area which showed Officer Fitzgerald catch up to Pfeffer and instruct him to get to the ground. Pfeffer disobeyed which is when Officer Fitzgerald and Pfeffer began to tussle behind an SUV, which was out of view from the camera.
The video then showed Pfeffer pulling out a handgun and shooting at Officer Fitzgerald.
“You can hear the shots and see the muzzle flashes, ‘bang, bang, bang,'” said Inspector Ransom.
When Officer Fitzgerald fell to the ground, Pfeffer fired three additional shots at the officer.
Pfeffer then motioned as if he was ready to run away and then backtracked to search the officer’s pockets and attempt to steal the officer’s gun. He was unsuccessful in removing the officer’s gun from it’s holster and fled the scene.
When additional officers responded to the call, they found officer Fitzgerald suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the face, and upper torso, said Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.
Officer Fitzgerald was taken to Temple University Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries at 7:27 p.m.
During this time Pfeffer fled onto the 1800 block of N 18th Street where he approached another victim and stole their car. According to Inspector Ransom, Pfeffer was heard on surveillance video saying, “give me the keys or I’ll kill you”. The victim complied and Pfeffer fled in the vehicle, until he abandoned it on the 1900 block of N 30th street.
About 12 hours after the incident, 18-year-old Miles Pfeffer was arrested all thanks to patrol officer, Corporal Brooks who was on duty as the operation room supervisor that night.
When Brooks heard Officer Fitzgerald’s call over the radio she left the 22nd Police District building, which was about a block from the scene, and attempted to provide assistance to Officer Fitzgerald.
Corporal Brooks heard the gunshots and observed two white males fleeing the area, said Inspector Ransom.
Corporal Brooks instructed the males to stop and was able to successfully detain them.
When Corporal Brooks got word of Officer Fitzgerald’s shooting, the 16-year-old and 17-year-old males were immediately transferred to the Philadelphia Police Homicide Unit.
During the interview with the two males, Police were able to get information about Pfeffer, which led to the arrest of Miles Pfeffer on Sunday, February 19th.
Pfeffer’s weapon has not been recovered and the investigation is still ongoing. At this time the other two suspects have not been charged.
During the press conference, officials offered condolences to Fitzgerald’s friends and family and spoke on the amazing character and repertoire of fallen Officer Fitzgerald.
“Christopher’s loss is not just our loss as his sisters and brothers in blue, but his loss will be felt by all who were blessed to be touched by his kindness,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.
While offering his condolences, Mayor Kenney became emotional and spoke on the importance of gun reform in Philadelphia, which District Attorney Krasner then reiterated. l
Fallen Officer Fitzgerald’s death marks the first Temple University Police Officer to be killed in the line of duty.
Officer Fitzgerald was married, and a father to a 7-year-old child.
Funeral Arraignments for Officer Fitzgerald will be held on Thursday, February 23rd and Friday February 24th.
A viewing service will take place on Thursday February 23rd from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the john F. Givnish Funeral Home in Northeast Philadelphia and the funeral service will then be held on Friday, February 24th from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City.