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IS sympathiser who shot US cop charged with attempted murder

world Updated: Jan 10, 2016 09:26 IST
Philadelphia shooting

In this frame from a January 7 video, Edward Archer runs with a gun toward a police car driven by Officer Jesse Hartnett in Philadelphia. (AP)

The suspect who shot a police officer in Philadelphia while claiming allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) was charged on Saturday with attempted murder, the district attorney’s office said.

Police said it was unclear whether the alleged assailant, Edward Archer, a 30-year-old local man, acted alone or as part of a wider conspiracy.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the suspect had traveled to Egypt and Saudi Arabia in recent years for reasons that were unclear on Saturday.

Archer, who was captured on a video surveillance camera opening fire at point-blank range, was in Saudi Arabia for a couple weeks in October-November 2011 and Egypt for several months in 2012, the Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Homicide police captain James Clark told a news conference on Friday that Archer had “stated that he pledges his allegiance to Islamic State, follows Allah and that is the reason he was called upon to do this.”

The episode comes amid heightened security in the United States following last month’s assault by a radicalized Muslim couple in California that killed 14 people, and the November terror attacks in Paris.

The wounded policeman, Jesse Hartnett, 33, was shot three times in his left arm as he sat in his patrol car late Thursday in the northeastern city.

The Philadelphia district attorney’s office tweeted on Saturday that Archer was being held without bail after he was “charged with attempted murder and related crimes for the shooting of police officer Jesse Hartnett.”

Stills captured from video surveillance and released to the press show the suspect opening fire as he walks towards the patrol car, extending his arm into the vehicle and then continuing to fire as he flees on foot.

Hartnett got out of his vehicle despite being wounded and managed to return fire, hitting the suspect, who was quickly arrested.

Authorities said they were astonished Hartnett survived.

It was unclear how the suspect obtained his firearm, which was stolen from police in October 2013, authorities said.