Edward Archer, the gunman who ambushed and shot a police officer from the Philadelphia Police Department, has claimed he committed the crime in the name of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and that he targeted the officer because he defended laws that went against the teachings of the Quran. The attack that took place on January 7 left Jesse Hartnett, 33, with serious injuries that would require multiple surgeries after being hit three times on his left arm.
A uniformed Hartnett was sitting in his patrol car at about 11:40 p.m. when the gunman fired at least 11 shots at him. It is reported that the attacker, who was wearing a white “Thobe,” waved at the police car then opened fire when the car slowed down. Archer, the gunman, began by shooting through the car window before aiming his gun fire straight at Harnett. Harnett shouted desperately into his police radio after the assailant had fired at him.
“Shots fired! … I’m bleeding heavily. I’m bleeding. Get us another unit out here,” were Hartnett’s shouts in a recording of his call.
His (Harnett’s) elbow had been shattered, his brachial artery hit, and some nerves in his arm had been damaged. Amazingly, though, the veteran police officer managed to get out of his car as the attacker was retreating, gave chase, and managed to shoot him in the buttocks. The incapacitated Archer was later arrested by other police officers. After the shooting, FBI agents raided two residences connected to the assailant.
The gun that Archer used to carry out the attack, a 9mm Glock 17, had been reported stolen from a police officer’s home back in 2013.
“It is one of the things that you regret the most when an officer’s gun is stolen that it is used against one of your own,” Ross said
At the time of the shooting, Archer was on probation and awaiting sentencing after being found guilty in November 2015 of a number of charges that included fraud and forgery. In 2012, Archer had been charged with aggravated assault and making terroristic threats among other offenses.
The attack is one of four attacks on American soil believed to have been inspired by ISIS. The other three are a hatchet assault on four police officers in New York in October 2014, shootings in a Dallas suburb in May 2015, and the San Bernardino attacks in December 2015 that left 14 dead.
Officials have yet to learn if Archer was indeed working with ISIS or if he had any contact with terrorists. According to FBI Special Agent Eric Ruona, Archer made a trip to Saudi Arabia in 2011 for Haji and also went on another trip to Egypt in 2012. It has yet to be determined if Archer interacted with any terrorist groups during said trips.
Jim Kenney, Philadelphia mayor, was quick to refute any claims that the shooting had anything to do with the Islamic faith.
“It is abhorrent; it does not represent the religion in any shape or form or any of the teachings. This is a criminal with a stolen gun, who tried to kill one of our officers, and it has nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith,” he said.