Prosecutors on Saturday charged the man police say attempted to execute an officer Thursday night with attempted murder, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and other charges.
The announcement follows federal investigators executing search warrants at properties associated with the shooter in Philadelphia and Delaware County.
The defendant, Edward Archer, 30, of Yeadon, says he acted in the name of Islam, but investigators are still attempting to confirm his motive.
Archer has a Monday court hearing scheduled in Delaware County in connection with another incident in which Archer was charged with forgery and driving with a suspended license.
Archer has had several brushes with the law over the years and had of late been dealing with mental anguish, including hearing voices and acting strangely, his mother told the Daily News. That’s all leading up to 11:40 p.m. Thursday night, when Archer, wearing a white sheer robe, fired 13 shots at a Philadelphia police officer, including firing inside the driver’s side window.
Archer’s former attorney, Doug Dolfman, says Archer does not have links to terrorists. He says Archer was just a lone wolf trying to make a name for himself.
“I think this whole Islamic issue he is raising is a bunch of crap. I think it’s a publicity stunt probably to just get favor for him,” Dolfman said on Saturday.
The officer, Jesse Hartnett, sustained three gunshot wounds, but was still able to step out of his patrol car and return fire. Hartnett suffered a broken arm and nerve damage, though authorities say he’s in stable condition.
Police say Archer used a weapon reported stolen from a police officer in 2013. It’s unclear how the weapon got in Archer’s hands.
Other public officials warned against putting too much credit in the shooter’s alleged links to terrorist organizations, and, even more, cautioned against crediting his self-described religion with motivating his actions.
At a news conference Friday, Mayor Jim Kenney told the public not to leap to any conclusions.
“In no way shape or form does anyone in this room believe that Islam, or the teaching of Islam, has anything to do with what you’ve seen on the screen. It’s abhorrent. It’s terrible, and it doesn’t represent the religion,” he said. “This is a criminal with a stolen gun who tried to kill one of our officers. It has nothing to do with being a Muslim.”
Officer Jesse Hartnett. (Photo provided by Philadelphia Police)
Ross said Hartnett’s survival is a miracle.
“When you look at the video — we have some video we captured of this — this is absolutely one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross. “This guy tried to execute the police officer. I mean, this guy tried to execute the police officer. The police officer had no idea he was coming.”
Archer, who is in custody, has a preliminary hearing on the attempted murder and other charges scheduled for January 25.
Shooting suspect Edward Archer. (Photo provided by Philadelphia Police)