On Thursday night, Officer Jesse Hartnett slowed his police cruiser near an intersection in West Philadelphia as a man dressed in white approached his car. For a moment it looked as though the man, identified by police as 30-year-old Edward Archer, was going to ask Hartnett for directions. Instead, Archer pulled out a 9-mm pistol and fired 13 shots through Hartnett’s passenger window. Reports suggest Archer had been building up to this moment, waiting for a chance to punish the police for upholding laws that went against the Koran.
Somehow, Hartnett survived the attack. “Shots fired. I’m bleeding heavily!” He shouted into his radio before opening his car door, pursuing Archer, and shooting him in the rear end. Police tracked down and arrested Archer while Hartnett was taken to a hospital; he’s now in stable condition. According to Philadelphia police commissioner Richard Ross, “[Archer] just came out of nowhere and started firing on him,” he told CBS. “He just started firing with one aim and one aim only: to kill him.”
When questioned, Archer said he’d pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS; he believes police defend laws that go against the teachings of Islam. Archer’s mother, Valerie Holliday, described her son to the Philadelphia Inquirer as a “devout Muslim” who’d been “acting kind of strange lately.” She had urged him to seek psychiatric help.
The gun Archer used had been stolen from police back in 2013, and officials are still trying to determine how he got hold of it. “That is one of the things you regret most when an officer’s gun is stolen,” Ross said. “When it is used against one of your own.”