A Temple University police officer was shot and killed near campus on Saturday night, and investigators say that an individual has been charged with murder in addition to other offenses in connection with the killing.
The office of the district attorney in Philadelphia has announced that Miles Pfeffer, age 18, will be charged with murder, murder of a law enforcement officer, robbery, carjacking, and weapons crimes in connection with the death of Officer Christopher Fitzgerald. According to the prosecutors, Officer Fitzgerald was shot in the head while responding to an incident near campus. Pfeffer will face charges of murder, murder of a law enforcement officer, robbery, carjacking, and weapons crimes.
“Pfeffer is also alleged to have attempted to rob Officer Fitzgerald of his gun and to have gone through the officer’s pockets while the officer was lying on the ground and fatally wounded,” District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement on Sunday. “Pfeffer is charged with going through Officer Fitzgerald’s pockets.” “It is additionally alleged that Pfeffer committed a carjacking a short time after the officer’s death, near to the spot where the officer was killed.”
Pfeffer was arrested at his house in Buckingham Township shortly after 7 a.m. on Sunday, according to the office of the district attorney for Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The arresting officers included township and Philadelphia police, in addition to state police and federal marshals. According to the statements made by county prosecutors, “police utilized the fallen officer’s handcuffs in order to place the suspect under arrest.”
It was not immediately clear whether or not Pfeffer retained legal representation; a number that was given for his residence was no longer in operation.
Officials from Temple University stated that Fitzgerald had been a member of the university police force since the month of October 2021.
Jennifer Griffin, the vice president for public safety at the university, stated in a statement that “Officer Fitzgerald devoted his life to selflessly serve and defend this community.” Officer Fitzgerald was killed on the job. “The void that this loss creates in each and every one of our hearts is immeasurable. He had the roles of father, husband, son, and coworker in addition to being a close friend.
The president of the university, Jason Wingard, expressed his “heartbreak” over the shooting and described it as “a gut-wrenching reminder of our police officers’ daily bravery and sacrifices to protect our students, faculty, staff and community.” This comes at a time when both the city and the country are dealing with “an unprecedented epidemic of violence.”
The senior vice president of the university and chief operations officer, Ken Kaiser, was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer as noting that during his more than 30 years of service at Temple, this was the first time that a campus officer had been shot and killed. He stated that it was something that shook everyone to their very core.
The family of the Temple University police officer who was killed tonight while bravely serving his community is in our thoughts and prayers, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro and First Lady Lori Shapiro said in a tweet that they were “devastated for the family of the Temple University police officer who was killed in the line of duty.”
He went on to explain that they prayed for his family, the Temple police, and the entire university community, saying things like “May his memory be a blessing.”
Joseph Regan, president of the Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge, also sent his condolences following the news of the death.
In a statement, Regan expressed his inability to find enough words to address the news that another one of his officers had been shot. “This cop is a hero, and the legacy he leaves behind along with the selfless act that he performed will live on in our hearts and memories for all time.”
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, this was the first gunshot that resulted in the death of an active-duty police officer in Philadelphia since the year 2020.