Man who shot cop says he did it for ISIS

A video surveillance image (left) showing Edward Archer shooting police officer Jesse Hartnett in Pennsylvania. Archer (top) fired at least 11 times, wounding Mr Hartnett (above).
A video surveillance image showing Edward Archer shooting police officer Jesse Hartnett in Pennsylvania.PHOTO: AFP
Edward Archer who shot police officer Jesse Hartnett in Pennsylvania. Archer fired at least 11 times, wounding Mr Hartnett.
Edward Archer who shot police officer Jesse Hartnett in Pennsylvania. Archer fired at least 11 times, wounding Mr Hartnett.PHOTO: AFP
Police officer Jesse Hartnett who was shot at least 11 times by Edward Archer in Pennsylvania.
Police officer Jesse Hartnett who was shot at least 11 times by Edward Archer in Pennsylvania.PHOTO: AFP

Gunman who ambushed officer confesses allegiance to terror group, say police

PHILADELPHIA (NEW YORK TIMES) - A man who wounded a Philadelphia police officer in a patrol car, emptying his gun and even reaching through the car window to shoot the officer, told investigators that he did it in the name of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Using a stolen police handgun, Edward Archer fired at least 11 times late on Thursday night, striking Officer Jesse Hartnett three times in the left arm, said Mr Richard Ross Jr, the city's police commissioner. Though badly wounded, Mr Hartnett, 33, chased his attacker and returned fire, striking him in the buttocks.

Arrested minutes later, Archer, 30, confessed to his act and said he pledged allegiance to ISIS, according to police at a news conference on Friday.

Dramatic images of the shooting, taken by a security video camera, swept across the national media, showing a gunman wearing a long robe - the kind of loose outer garment, known as a thobe or dishdasha, often worn by Muslim men - running towards the patrol car and firing, until finally he is seen reaching into the window. Then he runs away, firing at least once more.

Officials said that while the video left little question about what happened, there was some doubt as to why. Archer's mother, Ms Valerie Holliday, said he had serious psychological problems. But officials said they did not know if that was true.

It is also not known if Archer had any contact with radicals or terrorist groups, or if he had been influenced by such groups from afar and become "self-radicalised".

In the wake of the massacres in San Bernardino, California, in December and in Paris in November, the Philadelphia shooting and its video images stoked fears of a continuing trend of young people inspired to violence by radical groups. That prompted Mayor Jim Kenney, standing with the commissioner at the news conference, to say: "In no way, shape or form does anyone in this room believe that Islam or the teaching of Islam have anything to do with what you've seen on this screen."

Court records show Archer was found guilty in November of several charges, including fraud and forgery, and was awaiting sentencing.

Last year, he was sentenced to nine to 23 months in prison after pleading guilty to charges of carrying an unlicensed gun and assault.

His mother told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Archer, the oldest of seven siblings, had suffered head injuries and had recently been hearing voices, laughing and muttering to himself.

Madam Natalie King, 68, who lives across the street from Archer, said that based on what she had seen of him, she considered mental illness a more likely explanation than religious extremism.

"He wasn't what you would call radicalised," she said.

The gun used to shoot Mr Hartnett, which was recovered at the scene, was a 9mm semi-automatic pistol taken from an officer's home in October 2013, said Mr Ross Jr.

Mr Hartnett, who has been on the force for five years and previously served as an officer with another department, suffered a broken bone and serious nerve damage in the left arm, and "he lost a significant amount of blood," the commissioner said.

The police description of the episode resembled the December 2014 ambush of two New York City officers as they sat in a patrol car in Brooklyn.

In that case, Ismaaiyl Brinsley fatally shot officers Liu Wenjian and Rafael Ramos, then killed himself.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 10, 2016, with the headline 'Man who shot cop says he did it for ISIS'. Print Edition | Subscribe