As man confessed on Friday to opening fire on a police officer at an intersection, and reportedly claimed affiliation with ISIS — although local authorities say he doesn’t represent Islam.
On Thursday evening, Officer Jesse Hartnett was driving through a Philadelphia intersection when a gunman walked up to his window and opened fire, emptying 13 bullets from his 9mm handgun into the side of the vehicle and even pushing the firearm through the car window. The suspect, who was recently named as Edward Archer, then fled on foot.
Footage of the harrowing incident shows Hartnett exiting the vehicle and pursuing the suspect on foot — even through three of the bullets struck his left arm, breaking it and causing significant nerve damage. He is expected to survive his injuries.
“This guy tried to execute the officer,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said. “I don’t know how this officer survived.”
The suspect, whom Hartnett managed to shoot three times while returning fire, was apprehended a short distance away. On Friday, Archer confessed to the crime and listed a motive: he shot the officer “in the name of Islam” using a stolen police weapon, and reportedly pledged allegiance to the militant group ISIS, according to NBC Philadelphia.
The shooting immediately drew comparisons to the recent killings in California, where the shooters in San Bernardino claimed affiliation with ISIS to violently settle localized grievances, and Colorado, where a man claiming a deep Christian faith opened fire at a Planned Parenthood before surrendering to police.
But just as both Christian and Muslim faith groups — along with politicians such as President Barack Obama — were quick to note that those gunmen don’t represent their respective religions, so too did Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney insist that the suspect who shot Hartnett does not represent Islam, arguing that the shooter’s action had nothing to do with “being a Muslim or the Islamic faith.”
Last night’s shooting had nothing to do with any faith. It was a violent assault by a criminal. I urge all Philadelphians to stand together.
— Jim Kenney (@PhillyMayor) January 8, 2016
Ross also reportedly told reporters at a press conference that there was no indication that Archer was involved in a larger “conspiracy” against the police involving other people.
The shooting comes at a time when police deaths are actually at a low point, but when anti-Islam incidents — where American Muslims are harassed, shot, or have their houses of worship damaged or destroyed — are on the rise.