ABOVE PHOTO: Sylvia Young and Edward Miller.
By Megan Trimble
A “rambling” note expressing hatred for police was found after a man opened fire on a Philadelphia police officer then went on a shooting rampage, injuring a second officer, killing a woman and wounding three other people before he was shot and killed by police in an alley, authorities said Saturday.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross identified the gunman in the Friday overnight attack as 25-year-old Nicholas Glenn, who was “well-known” to police and has a criminal record.
Ross said Glenn had a 9mm Ruger and at least three magazines as well as a plastic bag with 13 to 15 live rounds. Investigators were trying to track the origins of the weapon, which had an obliterated serial number.
“Obviously, he was hell-bent on hurting a lot of people,” the commissioner said at a news conference, adding that “we aren’t absolutely clear as to why.”
The note was addressed “Doomed People” and expressed hatred for law enforcement and a probation officer; it was found on the gunman, Ross said. Police believe Glenn acted on his own and not as part of a group.
Ross described the violent events as “completely bizarre” and said he “would have no difficulty” believing mental illness was involved in Glenn’s actions.
“We know (Glenn) carried out one of the most violent acts that we’ve seen in Philadelphia in a long time,” he said. “This rambling suggests that he clearly was trying to target a police officer, as he did …”
The wild chase and shootout through the streets of Philadelphia began about 11:20 p.m. Friday when Sgt. Sylvia Young, a 19-year police veteran, was ambushed while sitting in her patrol car in West Philadelphia; she was shot a number of times in the arm and protective vest, Ross said.
“She didn’t hear him say a word, just walked up on her and started firing,” Ross said. “She did hear about 15 shots or so, and that’s consistent with the scene, where we believe she was struck at least eight times.”
Officers hearing the shots pursued the gunman, who then fired into a nearby bar, hitting a security guard in the leg, then grabbed a woman and used her as a shield before shooting her in the leg, Ross said. Moments later, the suspect shot into a car 14 times, hitting a man and a woman in the chest. The 25-year-old woman, who was hit seven times, was pronounced dead just before 2 a.m. Saturday, police said.
Ross said two police officers and University of Pennsylvania police officer Ed Miller chased the man into an alley, where the suspect was shot and killed. Miller was shot in the pelvis and right ankle.
Both Miller, 56, and Young, 46, were in stable condition Saturday at Penn Presbyterian Hospital, as were the three other people hit by gunfire. Police said both officers were in good spirits.
Ross said he was astounded the officers survived the close-range shooting, and recalled the Jan. 7 ambush shooting of Officer Jesse Hartnett. Hartnett was shot and wounded as he sat in his cruiser at an intersection by a man who investigators say told them he was “following Allah.”
“(Young) had to do something very similar … that Officer Hartnett did, and that is pretty much lean over in the passenger seat to try to shield herself from as many as those rounds as possible,” Ross said.
Police didn’t release the identities of others injured in the spree, pending notification of their families.
Mayor Jim Kenney praised officers and urged them to follow Young’s example and wear their protective vests. Ross joined in commending his officers, saying they largely refrained from firing their weapons to preserve public safety.
Philadelphia officers fired upon two nights in a row
For a second night in a row, Philadelphia police officers came under fire, although this time no one was injured.
Officers patrolling a central city district packed with restaurants, shops and clubs shortly before midnight Saturday said they detected a strong odor of marijuana from a passing group. When they called out to the group, a man fled.
Officers pursued him to a nearby street, where authorities say he opened fire, discharging at least three shots. The officers didn’t return fire.
The 19-year-old suspect later was found hiding behind a building and was taken into custody. He was taken to a hospital “for treatment for a severe sprain to his right ankle that was the result of jumping over fences of the rear yards of homes,” police said.
The shooting came almost exactly 24 hours after a police sergeant was shot and wounded in her car in West Philadelphia and a University of Pennsylvania police officer and four other people were shot and wounded before the gunman was killed. A 25-year-old woman among those shot later died.
In other violence around the city, a 22-year-old man was critically injured when he was shot in the back 10 times and three women were also hit by gunfire in a parking lot shared by two nightclubs in Northeast Philadelphia around 3:30 a.m. Sunday. About an hour later, in North Philadelphia, a man was shot in the head and critically injured and another man was hit in the arm and shoulder area during an alleged drug sale outside a fast-food establishment. Police said they don’t know who the target was of those shootings.
Last Saturday, also in North Philadelphia, a 23-year-old man was critically injured by gunshot wounds to his chest, back and arms fired by a man whose face was covered by Black “woman’s Muslim garb,” police said.
Aside from the 19-year-old man who was arrested, no arrests have been made in the shootings, police said.
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