An ISIS-inspired gunman who shot a Philadelphia police officer multiple times “in the name of Islam” in 2016 was “lying in wait” before the ambush attack on the unsuspecting cop who was merely sitting in his patrol car, prosecutors say.
The attempted murder trial of shooter Edward Archer, 32, began Thursday.
Archer is accused of firing 13 shots at Officer Jesse James Hartnett, a four-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, on the evening of Jan. 7, 2016. Hartnett was shot multiple times in his left arm as he shielded his head from the rounds of Archer’s stolen 9 mm Glock handgun.
In court Thursday, Archer refused to enter a plea, the Associated Press reported.
“I don’t plead to anyone but Allah,” he said.
Archer’s attorney sought to remind jurors that Archer is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The gunman reportedly gave a full confession in 2016, saying he did it in the name of Islam, according to CBS News. Sources also told Eyewitness News that Archer provided the confession in written form, and his police testimony was recorded on camera, as well.
“I follow Allah. I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic State, and that’s why I did what I did,” Archer told detectives, according to Homicide Capt. James Clark.
Federal authorities said Archer made two trips to the Middle East. In 2011, he went to Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage to Mecca. And in 2012, he traveled to Egypt and was there for several months.
A surveillance video of the shooting shows an attacker in a white Muslim garb as he runs up to Officer Hartnett’s police cruiser and repeatedly fires at close range into the driver’s side window.
“This is absolutely one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross after the 2016 attack. “This guy tried to execute the police officer. The police officer had no idea he was coming.”
Even after being shot, Hartnett was able to pull out his service weapon and fire three shots at the suspect, who in turn, fled the scene.
Released 9-1-1 tapes revealed Hartnett’s panic: “Shots fired, I’m shot,” he yells into his phone. “I’m bleeding heavily.”
Police quickly caught and apprehended Archer, while Hartnett, who suffered a broken arm, was taken to a nearby hospital for surgery, ABC reported.
The incident came just after then-President Obama took to national airwaves to explain his executive actions on gun control.
It didn’t take long for the gun control angle to rear, either.
CBS Philly reported District Attorney Seth Williams as saying, “I’m very thankful the officer is alive. This shows us the need for smarter laws when it relates to guns on the street. My office is going to do all that we can to ensure the defendant is held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”