Philadelphia police and the FBI are investigating a tip that the self-proclaimed ISIS-inspired shooter who attacked a Philly cop Thursday may be part of a larger group targeting officers, a law enforcement source told Fox News on Sunday.
Edward Archer, 30, is accused of shooting and wounding Officer Jesse Hartnett while Hartnett sat in his patrol car. After his arrest, Archer allegedly told authorities he acted in the name of Islam.
“Last night a Philadelphia police officer was stopped by a citizen on the street who proceeded to make statements regarding the defendant involved in the shooting ambush on Officer Hartnett,” a statement from the Philadelphia Police Department said. “The citizen alleged the defendant had an affiliation to a group with radical beliefs.”
Philly police said they, along with the FBI, were investigating the claim to “verify the credibility of the information given.”
“The Philadelphia Police Department has alerted all department personnel of this matter and will continue to have officers work with a partner until further notice,” the statement said.
Soon after the attack, Archer reportedly confessed his Islamist leanings
“He stated that he pledges his allegiance to Islamic State, he follows Allah and that is the reason he was called upon to do this,” Captain James Clark said Friday, according to WTXF.
But the tip currently being investigated means Archer may not be a so-called lone wolf terrorist.
It’s not uncommon for authorities to receive similar tips during similar investigations; however, the credibility of the tipster could be buoyed by an incident on Saturday in which a man is accused of scuffling with an officer and trying to steal his gun.
Perhaps ironically, the unidentified 18th District officer involved in the episode was working a hospital detail for Hartnett at the time, ABC6 reported.
The officer had walked outside of the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center just before 11 p.m. when he was approached by an unidentified 40-year-old black male, who had earlier asked the cop for some money. When the officer turned his back on the man, he attempted to take the officer’s handgun from his holster. The man was eventually subdued following a struggle. He later said he wanted the gun in order to commit a robbery, according to authorities. The officer was unharmed.
Police said the incident appeared unrelated to Hartnett’s shooting but was “an example of the type of individuals that our officers face daily when performing their duties as Philadelphia police officers.”
Meanwhile, a fundraising page has been set up to raise money to help pay the expenses of the wounded officer, who was shot three times in the arm and will require multiple surgeries. The GoFundMe page had recorded $17,530 on Sunday afternoon.