2 police officers injured during July 4th shooting on Ben Franklin Parkway; $20K reward offered

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

A $20,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of the armed suspect who wounded two police officers during Philadelphia’s Fourth of July celebration.

The shooting happened just after 9:45 p.m. Monday in the 2500 block of Spring Garden as the fireworks display was still underway.

Sources tell Action News that they believe the gunfire erupted from a location in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art but behind the main stage on Eakins Oval.

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Attendees at the celebration could be seen running down the Ben Franklin Parkway after the gunfire erupted.

A 36-year-old Philadelphia police department highway patrol officer was grazed in the forehead. He’s been on the force for 14 years.

A photo shared by president of Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 President John McNesby showed a bullet lodged in the officer’s hat.

“It is miraculous that the round stopped in his hat. It initially, I think, went up the inside, hit his forehead, and then the round stopped in his hat,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said during a news conference shortly after midnight Tuesday.

The reward is being offered by the FOP.

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“We were inches away from planning a funeral for at least one brave, Philadelphia Highway Patrol officer as a bullet lodged in his cap,” McNesby said in a statement. “There are too many guns on our streets and far too many individuals acting recklessly with these deadly weapons.”

The second officer, identified as 44-year-old John Foster, a Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy assigned to the bomb squad task force, sustained a graze wound to the right shoulder.

Foster, a 17-year veteran of the MCSO, has been a member of the bomb squad for three years. He was assisting Philadelphia police for the Party of the Parkway, as law enforcement from surrounding counties often do during large events in the city.

Both officers were transported to Jefferson University Hospital where they were treated and released early Tuesday morning.

Highway patrol and other officers from Philadelphia police were in formation outside the hospital, saluting and clapping out the injured officers as they went home to recover.

One of the injured officers could be seen with a bandage on his head.

“While we are thankful that Deputy Foster and the injured Philadelphia officer are OK, we are troubled by the violence that turned what should have been a celebration into a near tragedy,” the MCSO said in a statement.

Outlaw said the officers didn’t hear any shots fired.

There is no word on a suspect or any arrests so far in this shooting. Police are asking anyone with information, or who may have photo or video of the shooting, to call them at 215-686-TIPS (8477).

The circumstances of this shooting remain under investigation.

Outlaw said it was not yet known if the shooting was intentional or if the officers were hit by stray bullets – or if the bullets came from celebratory gunfire.

Mayor Jim Kenney, who was also at the news conference, did not mince words when asked about the gun crisis in the city.

“If I had the ability to take care of guns. I would. But the legislature won’t let us. The U.S. Congress won’t let us. The governor does the best he can. Our Attorney General does the best he can. But this is a gun country. It’s crazy,” he said.

“We’re the most armed country in world history and we’re one of the least safest,” he continued. “So, you know, until Americans decide that they want to give up the guns and give up the opportunity to get guns we’re gonna have this problem.”

The shooting came just hours after gunfire during a Fourth of July parade in Illinois.

Six people were killed and dozens more were injured in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago. A person of interest, in that case, is currently in custody.

The Parkway remains closed to traffic on Tuesday for cleanup.

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