Gunman who shot cop pledged allegiance to the Islamic State

A source says the suspect traveled to Egypt in 2012.

JANUARY 8, 2016

by Aubrey Whelan, Mari A. Schaefer, Jeremy Roebuck, and Stephanie Farr

Hours after he shot a Philadelphia police officer with a stolen police firearm Thursday night, Edward Archer confessed to investigators that he had acted "in the name of Islam," authorities said.

"I follow Allah. I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic State, and that's why I did what I did," Archer told detectives, according to Homicide Capt. James Clark.

Investigators are still working to determine whether the 30-year-old Yeadon man had any ties to terrorist groups or whether he had acted alone.

Archer's mother said Friday that her son had been "hearing voices in his head" and needed medical help.

Friday afternoon, police and agents with the FBI's Terrorism Task Force searched her house in Yeadon and another location in West Philadelphia associated with Archer.

Investigators are scouring Archer's Internet activity to see if he may have had contact with ISIS members or other radical Islamic groups. A law enforcement source said late Friday that so far they had not found any indication that Archer had been in contact with known terrorism suspects.

Federal authorities are also looking into two trips Archer made to the Middle East. In the fall of 2011, he traveled to Saudi Arabia for a pilgrimage to Mecca and stayed for several weeks, an FBI spokesman said. The next year, he went to Egypt for reasons that are unclear and spent several months there.

"We will see where the investigation leads us," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, who is in his first week on the job.

Meanwhile, police praised the bravery of the wounded officer, Jesse Hartnett, who was shot three times in an arm but still managed to pursue and wound Archer as he fled the scene of the shooting at 60th and Spruce Streets. The officer, 33, was in critical but stable condition Friday.

It was extraordinary, Ross said, that Hartnett had survived.

"This guy tried to execute the police officer," the commissioner said in a predawn briefing on the shooting. At a news conference Friday afternoon, he said of the officer: "The bravery he demonstrated was absolutely remarkable."

Local and national officials condemned the attack.

Mayor Kenney called Archer a criminal and said his actions were no reflection on Islam.

Jacob Bender, executive director of the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said the incident "should not be seen as representative of Muslims or the faith of Islam," and called for a thorough investigation of the shooting.

Hartnett, an 18th District officer with five years on the force, was patrolling alone on 60th Street when Archer strode toward his cruiser around 11:40 p.m. Thursday.

Archer was armed with a semiautomatic 9mm pistol - a police-issued firearm that had been reported stolen from an officer's home in 2013, Ross said. He said it was unclear how Archer got the gun.

In video of the shooting obtained by The Inquirer, Archer was captured walking toward Hartnett, his arm extended, firing shot after shot and pocking the cruiser with bullets.

Then, he leaned into the officer's squad car and opened fire again before sprinting back down the street.

Hartnett was hit three times in the arm. Bleeding heavily, his arm limp, he struggled out of his car and managed to run after Archer and fire back, wounding him.

'Shots fired! I'm shot!'

Over the police radio, officers heard Hartnett's frantic voice as he called for help: "Shots fired! I'm shot! I'm bleeding heavily."

The first officers to arrive on the scene hurried Hartnett into a police car - "a scoop and run," said one officer on the scene - and rushed him to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.

"There was blood everywhere on the street," the officer said.

A block away, at 60th and Delancey Street, another group of officers captured Archer, who had been shot once in the buttocks. His gun lay next to him, with the slide locked, the officer said - Archer had fired every bullet in his gun.

Hartnett suffered a broken arm and nerve damage, and has "a lot of recovery ahead of him," Ross said.

Archer was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and then to the homicide unit, where detectives were interviewing him late Friday.

Clark said Archer repeatedly professed his allegiance to the Islamic State in his confession. Ross said Archer told investigators he believed police enforced laws counter to the Quran.

"He doesn't appear to be a stupid individual, just an extremely violent one," Ross said.

Reached at her home in Yeadon, Archer's mother, Valerie Holliday, said he was the eldest of seven children.

He had lifelong ties to Philadelphia, a former lawyer, Doug Dolfman, wrote in court papers, and had attended Cheyney University and worked in the city as a security guard.

Holliday said her son had suffered head injuries from playing football and a moped accident.

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

She said her son is a devout Muslim who has practiced the faith for some time. She said he believed he had been targeted by police.

"I don't know how he got the gun," she said. "I'm still hoping they have the wrong child."

Members of the FBI's Terrorism Task Force converged on Holliday's home on Friday afternoon. FBI agents left with a cardboard box and several evidence bags.

A relative said Holliday had left the home with police.

In recent years, Archer was arrested in Delaware County and in Philadelphia. He was on probation at the time of the shooting.

In January 2012, Archer threatened another man with a gun at a house on Alden Street, near 57th Street and Spruce, in West Philadelphia.

Sometime after that incident, Archer traveled to Egypt. When he returned to the United States in December 2012, he was taken into custody by New York authorities because of his outstanding arrest warrant in the gun case.

In March, Archer pleaded guilty to simple assault and carrying a gun without a license, and was sentenced to nine to 23 months in jail and two years' probation. He was already out on bail, and was immediately paroled.

Archer is awaiting sentencing in a 2014 case in Delaware County, where he was charged with forging documents, careless driving, driving with a suspended license, and other offenses. He was found guilty in November and was scheduled to be sentenced Monday, according to court records.

'A miracle'

Hartnett's family learned around midnight that he had been wounded.

Robert Hartnett, who spent the night at the hospital at his son's side, said his son's survival was "a miracle."

Hartnett served 14 years with the Coast Guard, joining shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, and serving on active duty through August 2008. Afterward, he served in the Coast Guard Reserve, and spent two years on the East Lansdowne police force before becoming a Philadelphia police officer.

Colleagues said Hartnett was widely respected as a humble but hardworking officer. And he was compassionate, Ross said, once buying dinner for the son of a drug suspect he had just arrested.

"He has good determination, and he's always wanted to help people and be a policeman," Hartnett's father said.

Philadelphia police officers took to social media to express support for their wounded colleague and decry the attack.

At Friday's news conference, Kenney said the shooting showed the sacrifices officers make and highlighted Philadelphia's problem of gun violence.

"There are too many guns on our streets," he said.

Gov. Wolf issued a statement denouncing the shooting as an ambush and saying, "This alleged intentional act of violence against an officer seeking to help a fellow citizen is horrifying and has no place in Pennsylvania."

Sen. Robert P. Casey (D., Pa.) called the shooting "an act of barbarism," and said he was pleased that federal authorities were working on the case with local police.

"Those who carry out attacks in the name of ISIS or any other terrorist organization must be fully prosecuted," he said, but added: "This individual and any who would advocate similar acts are not representative of any religion - they are thugs and criminals."

Rep. Patrick Meehan (D., Pa.) praised Hartnett's "tremendous heroism" and said he found Archer's statements about the Islamic State "troubling," and called for federal investigators to investigate any possible ties to "overseas radical groups."

Iran police kill Ramadan offender

Monday October 17, 2005 14:52 - (SA)

TEHRAN - Iranian police have been accused of shooting and killing a motorist after he failed to stop when spotted eating during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, a press report said.

The victim, identified as 22-year-old Seyed Mostafa, was shot dead in Tehran on Saturday.

He was also playing loud music with his car stereo, the government Iran newspaper said.

"Even if the police claim is right, is eating during the fasting month punishable by death?" the victim's brother was quoted as saying.

The report did not say if the family would press charges against the police, who have been actively enforcing a dawn to dusk Ramadan ban on public eating, drinking and smoking as well as a wider campaign to crack down on "lawless elements".


One dead in hate-crime shooting at Jewish center

Suspect in custody; three women in critical condition

Saturday, July 29, 2006

(CNN) -- One person was killed and five others were wounded, three critically, in a shooting at the Jewish Federation in downtown Seattle, Washington, police said.

Police have detained a suspect who is a U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent.

"This is a crime of hate, and there's no place for that in the city of Seattle," Mayor Greg Nickels said. "This was a purposeful hateful act, as far as we know, by an individual acting alone."

The attack promoted Seattle police to increase security at Jewish temples and Islamic mosques around the city, Chief Gil Kerlikowske said.

"We are also protecting mosques, because there is always the concern of retaliatory crime or retaliatory incident," Kerlikowske said.

The suspect walked into the office building just after 4 p.m. Friday armed with a large caliber semi-automatic handgun and opened fire after asking for the manager, Kerlikowske said.

The shooter laid down his handgun and surrendered to SWAT officers about 12 minutes after the shooting began, Kerlikowske said.

The belief that it was a hate crime is based on what the suspect said to a 911 operator and supervisor when he took a phone from an office worker who called the emergency number. Kerlikowske would not say specifically what the man said.

All of the shooting victims -- including the one killed -- were women, he said. Most of the 18 people in the building were female, but there was no indication he was specifically targeting them, the chief said.

The wounded were taken to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center following the shooting, the hospital said. Three of them were in critical condition with injuries to their abdomens.

The other two victims were in satisfactory condition, the hospital said, including a 37-year-old woman who is 20 weeks pregnant. She was shot in the arm, while the other woman sustained a knee injury.

Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz said police had no specific information about any threats, but his department did issue an alert Thursday "reminding officers to be vigilant to monitor synagogues and mosques in the city."

Kerlikowske acknowledged that the suspect was a Muslim, but he did not reveal his name. He said there was no reason to believe more than one person was involved in the attack. Another law enforcement official told CNN the suspect was of Pakistani descent.

FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Laura Laughlin said the suspect was a U.S. citizen, not from Seattle.

Robert Jacobs, Pacific Northwest Regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, told CNN the group has been warning Jewish institutions to be wary and ensure they have adequate security because of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. If they cannot, he said, it would be better for Jews "not to congregate in one location that might be an obvious site."