Another street corner, another cop under fire. Less than a week after slain Police Officer John Pawlowski was laid to rest, a shoot-out erupted between police and a man yesterday in North Philadelphia, leaving the man dead and a detective hospitalized with a leg wound. The violence unfolded the same day that Rasheed Scruggs — the career criminal accused of gunning down Pawlowski on Feb. 13 in Logan — was transferred from Albert Einstein Medical Center to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. Scruggs had been hospitalized since officers shot him after he had fatally wounded Pawlowski. Police shackled Scruggs, 33, with Pawlowski’s handcuffs, and officers from the 35th District — where Pawlowski worked — escorted him to jail. Then, about noon yesterday, funeral-weary police again heard the dreaded call on their radios: Officer down. On Indiana Avenue near Warnock Street, Detective Albert Ford, a sergeant on the Violent Crimes Task Force, and his partner went to the house of Kevin Robinson, 25, to serve an arrest warrant, said Lt. Frank Vanore, a police spokesman.
Robinson was armed when he opened the door, and he and Ford struggled. Robinson broke away and ran out the door, turning as he ran to fire a Kel-Tec .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol at the officers, said Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross. Robinson fired at least three shots, striking Ford, 42, a 20-year veteran, in the upper left leg, Ross said.
The officers returned fire, striking Robinson several times, killing him, Vanore said. Robinson — who had been arrested eight times for robbery, aggravated assault and related offenses — had been wanted on a warrant for the shooting last year of his ex-girlfriend’s uncle, Ross said. Authorities tracked down Robinson after he responded to a police sting in which detectives in December sent a letter to fugitives asking them to call in to claim money purportedly owed to them, said police sources. Yesterday afternoon at Indiana Avenue and 11th Street, about a half block from the shooting scene, family members of Robinson consoled one another as word spread of his death.
His body, covered with a white sheet, lay on the sidewalk in front of a two-story, red-brick rowhouse. Roxanne Neal, who said she is Robinson’s aunt, described him to reporters while walking to her car. “He’s a beautiful boy,” she said. “He deals with everybody in the community. He’s a beautiful, young, beautiful boy.” Police recovered the weapon they said had been used to shoot Ford. Mayor Nutter and police brass, including Commissioner Charles Ramsey and Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross, visited Ford at Temple University Hospital. He was surrounded by his wife and children — 10-year-old twins, a 16-year-old and a 21-year-old, Ross said.
Nutter expressed his relief: “I’ve been to this scene too many times over the past 14 months or so and the outcome has been very different. So, we’re very grateful that the officer is on his way to recovery.” Earlier yesterday, city residents rallied for community healing at two events. In Logan, about 100 men — wearing black blindfolds and walking hand in hand — gathered for a faith march that began at Broad Street and Olney Avenue, where Pawlowski was shot, and ended at the 35th District headquarters at Broad Street and Champlost AvenueAnd in Center City, about 45 archdiocesan students from St. Mary Interparochial, St. Francis Xavier Parish and Hallahan High presented Ramsey with some of the 20,000 letters of gratitude they had written to police.