Department of Homeland Security calls Pennsylvania shootings a ‘terror attack’

Department of Homeland Security calls Pennsylvania shootings a ‘terror attack’
The Department of Homeland Security is calling a series of shootings targeting police officers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania a "terror attack." (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

The Department of Homeland Security has announced that they have determined that a string of shootings in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Friday were a “terror attack,” and further that they highlight the need for immigration reform.

What happened?

A man named Ahmed Aminamin El-Mofty allegedly took several shots at police officers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Friday. According to Penn Live, the shootings began around 4 p.m. local time on Friday in the downtown Harrisburg area. El-Mofty first reportedly fired “several shots” at a capitol police car, but the officer who was sitting inside was able to escape unharmed.

About 30 minutes later, El-Mofty allegedly fired several shots at a Pennsylvania state trooper. One of the bullets struck the trooper, but she is expected to make a full recovery.

The state trooper pursued El-Mofty through the city to the Allison Hill section of the city, where he departed his car and allegedly opened fire at officers who were in pursuit with two handguns. Officers returned fire, killing El-Mofty.

Other than the state trooper and El-Mofty, no other casualties or injuries were reported in the incident.

What is DHS saying? 

Acting DHS Press Secretary Tyler Houlton released a statement calling the incident a “terror attack,” according to CNN. The DHS’s statement further indicated that the incident illustrated the administration’s “concerns with extended family chain migration.” According to the statement, “Both chain migration and the diversity visa lottery program have been exploited by terrorists to attack our country.”

According to DHS, El-Mofty was a naturalized citizen who initially came to America on a “family-based immigrant visa.”

The statement did not indicate whether DHS believes that El-Mofty was either connected to or inspired by any international terrorist organization such as ISIS.

What are local authorities saying?

Local authorities have not indicated whether they believe this incident to be terrorism. Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marisco did indicate that it was clear that El-Mofty was targeting cops.

According to WGAL-TV, El-Mofty’s family stated that he had been estranged from them and living back in his home country of Egypt. His family reportedly did not even know that he was back in the Pennsylvania area until the incident.

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