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Updated on 2/19 at 4:45 p.m.
An 18-year-old man was arrested Sunday morning in connection with Saturday night’s fatal shooting of Temple University Police Officer Christopher Fitzgerald, wrote Jennifer Griffin, vice president for public safety, in an email to the Temple community.
Fitzgerald was shot at 17th Street near Montgomery while attempting to apprehend a suspect in a robbery of a convenience store located at 15th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue.
The suspect, who has been identified as Miles Pfeffer of Bucks County, is facing charges of murder, murder of a law enforcement official, robbery and carjacking, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Pfeffer allegedly tried to rob Fitzgerald of his gun and searched his pockets while on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds, the Inquirer reported.
Pfeffer was involved in an armed carjacking after shooting Fitzgerald, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. Police originally believed Fitzgerald was shot while trying to stop a carjacking.
“There are simply no words that can make sense of such a tragedy,” wrote Stephen Orbanek, a university spokesperson, in a statement to The Temple News. “It tears at our sense of community, and wounds us to our very soul. Temple has lost an officer and hero to senseless violence. Our thoughts are with the victim’s family, friends and the entire Temple community during this tremendously difficult time.”
The officer was later pronounced dead at Temple University Hospital. Both the Philadelphia Police Department and the Temple University Police Department are gathering information regarding the incident, Orbanek wrote.
In a message to the Temple community, President Jason Wingard shared that the suspect in the shooting fled the Temple area and encouraged community members to seek counseling through Tuttleman Counseling Services.
“Please join me in sending our deepest sympathies and thoughts of strength and perseverance to the victim’s family, friends and the entire Temple community during this tremendously difficult time,” Wingard wrote.
Temple University Police Association President Alec Shaffer wrote in a statement that TUPA, TUPD’s labor union, will continue its commitment to the officer, his family and the other police officers.
“There are no words that can express our deep sorrow to this officer and our Temple University Police family who attempt to process this horrific tragedy,” Shaffer wrote.
State and local politicians have also voiced their condolences for the officer’s family.
“Lori and I are devastated for the family of the Temple University police officer who was killed in the line of duty tonight, bravely serving his community,” Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro tweeted Saturday. “We’re sending prayers to his loved ones, Temple Police, and the entire [Temple University] community. May his memory be a blessing.”
Mayor Jim Kenney tweeted that the City of Philadelphia will continue to support Temple Police during this time.
“Heartbroken and outraged by tonight’s news of the shooting and death of a Temple University police officer,” Kenney wrote. “The City of Philadelphia joins the Temple community in mourning. My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”
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