PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A man is facing murder and other charges in the death of a Temple University police officer shot and killed near campus Saturday night, officials said.
The Philadelphia district attorney’s office said Miles Pfeffer, 18, will face charges of murder, murder of an officer, robbery, grand theft auto and felony weapons in the death of Officer Christopher Fitzgerald, who prosecutors said was shot. in my head as I answered. to an incident near campus.
“Pfeffer also allegedly attempted to steal Officer Fitzgerald’s gun and searched his pockets while the officer was lying on the ground and fatally wounded,” District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement Sunday. “Pfeffer is further accused of committing a car theft shortly afterwards near the scene of the officer’s murder.”
The Bucks County District Attorney’s office said Pfeffer was taken into custody shortly after 7:00 am Sunday at his home in Buckingham Township by city and Philadelphia police, as well as state and federal police. “Police used the downed officer’s handcuffs to arrest the suspect,” county prosecutors said.
There was no immediate word on whether Pfeffer had a lawyer; a number listed for his home was no longer in service.
Temple University officials said Fitzgerald had been on the university’s police force since October 2021.
“Officer Fitzgerald gave his life to selflessly serve and defend this community,” said Jennifer Griffin, vice president of public safety for the university, in a statement. “This loss leaves a huge hole in all of our hearts. He was a father, a husband, a son, a colleague and a friend.”
University President Jason Wingard said he was “heartbroken” and called the shooting “a painful reminder of the bravery and daily sacrifices of our law enforcement officers to protect our students, faculty, staff and community,” while the city and the country are dealing with “an unprecedented epidemic of violence”.
Ken Kaiser, the university’s senior vice president and director of operations, was quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer as saying it was the first shooting death of a campus official during his more than 30 years at Temple. “It just shakes everybody up,” he said.
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro tweeted that he and First Lady Lori were “devastated for the family of the Temple University police officer who was killed in the line of duty tonight, bravely serving his community.”
They sent prayers to his family, the temple police and the university community, he added, saying, “May his memory be a blessing.”
Joseph Regan, president of the Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge, also expressed condolences.
“Words cannot describe the news that another of our officers has been shot,” Regan said in a statement. “This officer is a hero whose legacy and selfless act will live on in our hearts and memories forever.”
It was the first fatal shooting of an on-duty police officer in Philadelphia since 2020, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
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