PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A man who investigators say claimed he shot and wounded a Philadelphia police officer in the name of Islam was charged Saturday with attempted murder.
Edward Archer also was charged with aggravated assault, assault of a law enforcement officer and several firearms crimes. He is being held without bail.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 25. The Defender Association of Philadelphia, listed in court documents as representing him, couldn’t be reached Saturday for comment.
Authorities say Archer, 30, of Yeadon, fired at least 13 shots toward the officer as he patrolled his usual west Philadelphia beat shortly before midnight Thursday. They say Archer fired repeatedly as he raced toward the officer’s car, then reached into the driver’s side, still firing, hitting the officer three times.
Officer Jesse Hartnett, although seriously wounded, was able to get out of his car, chase the man and return fire, wounding him in the buttocks, police said. Other officers chased Archer and apprehended him about a block away.
Investigators said Archer told them he was “following Allah” and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, and he believed the police department defends laws that are contrary to Islam.
Investigators believe Archer traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2011 and to Egypt in 2012. They are investigating the purpose of those trips, FBI special agent Eric Ruona said.
“It’s definitely an area of great investigative interest to us, and we are working with our (Joint Terrorism Task Force) partners in trying to sort out what he was doing there,” Ruona said Saturday.
Archer’s mother told The Philadelphia Inquirer her son had been hearing voices recently and had felt targeted by police. She said the family had asked him to get help.
An attorney who briefly represented Archer in a 2012 case told WCAU-TV on Friday that his client was “always looking over his shoulder.”
“He was very impulsive, he was very paranoid,” Doug Dolfman, who represented Archer for three weeks after being hired by his mother, the station reported.
Hartnett, 33, was shot three times in the arm and will require multiple surgeries, but was listed in stable condition at a hospital. Archer was treated and released into police custody.
In March, Archer pleaded guilty to firearms and assault charges but was immediately released and placed on probation. Court documents also indicate he was scheduled to be sentenced Monday in suburban Philadelphia in a traffic and forgery case.
The 9mm pistol recovered at the scene of the shooting had been stolen from a fellow police officer’s home in October 2013, and investigators were trying to find out how Archer obtained the weapon and whether it passed through other people’s hands since the theft.