The FBI is investigating why a male suspect who police say confessed to wounding a Philadelphia officer “in the name of Islam” took trips to Saudi Arabia and Egypt in the past five years.
Police said Edward Archer, 30, fired 13 rounds from a stolen police firearm at Officer Jessie Hartnett while the cop was sitting in his patrol car late Thursday. The 33-year-old officer, who was in serious condition with gunshot wounds to his arm, returned fire, hitting Archer.
The suspect was quickly taken into custody by other officers while fleeing the scene.
He was arraigned Saturday on one count of attempted murder as well as charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, reckless endangerment and making terroristic threats.
Police officials said Friday that Archer, who was wearing a long-sleeved white tunic over dark pants during the attack, confessed to the shooting and said he did it “in the name of Islam.”
“I follow Allah. I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic State, and that’s why I did what I did,” Archer told police investigators, according to Homicide Capt. James Clark.
Police commissioner Richard Ross, speaking to reporters Friday, said Archer told detectives he “believes that the police defend laws that are contrary to the teaching of the Koran.”
Archer’s mother, Valerie Holliday, told the Philadelphia Inquirer her son was a devout Muslim, but suffered head injuries from playing football and in a moped accident. He has “been acting kind of strangely lately, talking to himself … laughing and mumbling,” she said.
Police and FBI agents searched his mother’s home in suburban Yeadon on Friday and a second location in West Philadelphia.
Investigators believe Archer traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2011 for a pilgrimage to Mecca and to Egypt in 2012, FBI special agent Eric Ruona said. The purpose of that travel was under investigation. Police said there was no indication anyone else was involved in the officer’s ambush.
Jacob Bender, the executive director of the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group, said he contacted about five inner-city mosques and found no one who knew of Archer, the Associated Press reported.
Mayor Jim Kenney played down the Islam connection, calling Archer “a criminal with a stolen gun who tried to kill one of our officers.”
“It has nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith,” Kenney said.
SOURCE: Doug Stanglin