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Officer shot and student murdered: Trump holds rally amid Philadelphia's chaos
Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Officer shot and student murdered: Trump holds rally amid Philadelphia's chaos

'Crime is out of control.'

PHILADELPHIA, Penn. — "Under Crooked Joe, the City of Brotherly Love is being ravaged by bloodshed and crime," former President Donald Trump stated at the beginning of his speech at Temple University's Liacouras Center on Saturday.

The MAGA rally in the commonwealth's deep-blue city is yet another event to be hosted in a Democratic stronghold as Trump continues to make his case to areas that typically would not show outward support for him. Pointing to the murder rate and retail theft since he left office, along with poor economic activity and low-performing schools, all which plague many cities like Philadelphia, Trump's intent was to show voters there it does not have to be this way.

As if to prove the case Trump was making, two major crime incidents occurred within blocks of the Liacouras Center before and during his speech. Early Saturday morning, 20-year-old TU nursing student Milan Jones was found dead inside an apartment, allegedly killed by her boyfriednd, Tymir Lackey, also a student at TU, according to WPVI.

Students at the North Philadelphia college becoming victims of crime has been one of the factors for the school experiencing a 22% drop in enrollment from 2020. But it is not just students who have been targets. TU police officer Christopher Fitzgerald was killed in the line of duty in February 2023. NBC10 reported Fitzgerald was shot by a fleeing suspect once, fell over, and was then shot several times in the head, allegedly by Miles Pfeffer.

'I often come here with a lot of anger about what my men and women must endure.'

Before Trump was finished speaking, another tragedy occurred. A few blocks north of the Liacouras Center, a call went out of an officer being shot. Officers who were patrolling by the city hall raced north to respond to the call, sirens blaring.

At a press conference later that evening at TU's hospital, Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel provided information on what exactly happened.

An officer, who has been on the force for six years, and a partner conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle with four people inside. During the stop, the officer noticed a gun holster. One person started to flee, firing three times as he ran. The officer was shot in the neck. The officer's partner returned fire. The officer was then loaded in the squad car and raced to the hospital.

"I often come here with a lot of anger about what my men and women must endure," Bethel told reporters. "So today I ask the people across the city of Philadelphia to pray for our officer and pray for the men and women who are here today or out in the field, knowing they'll give their lives for this job."

As of Tuesday, the officer is still in the ICU.

Ramon Rodriguez Vazquez, 36, is being held on a $12.5 million bail for the shooting, according to WPVI, and his criminal record shows he has shot at police in Puerto Rico after a carjacking.

Since this was a Democratic city, an anti-Trump protest, organized by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, was held directly across from the auditorium. While Trump's rally was well-attended, the PA Democrats' protest was lightly attended, barely having 75 people at its height. Most of the attendees, complete with orange shirts, belonged to the Laborers' International Union of North America.

LiUNA member Malik Staten told Blaze Media he does not believe Trump is making gains with black and brown voters.

"The people that side with him, they're doing it for a check. They're doing [it] for a paycheck, they're doing [it] to get some notoriety. ... But ultimately, the people that know, know that is not the way," he said.

Within an hour, the LiNUA members left. The protest had around 25 people at that point.

A Latino TU student wearing a MAGA hat told Blaze Media he supports Trump because he supports his platform.

"I don't want to be called 'Latinx,' I'm a Latino with an 'o.' My mom is Latina, we're not an 'x,'" he added, pointing out the progressive attempt to make Spanish, a gendered language, gender neutral.

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Julio Rosas

Julio Rosas

Julio Rosas is Blaze Media's National Correspondent.

@Julio_Rosas11 →