Port Richmond man arrested in stabbing of retired cop

Police have arrested a Port Richmond man in Monday’s stabbing of a retired police officer.

Joseph Fitzgerald, 31, of Belgrade Street near Westmoreland, is being held on $400,000 bail for aggravated assault and related offenses. He faces a Sept. 4 preliminary hearing.

Joseph Fitzgerald, arrested in retired cop's stabbing

Retired Philadelphia police officer George Orth, 56, told investigators he met Fitzgerald at a nearby bar and that his new aquaintance then stabbed him once in the chest about 2 a.m. outside Orth’s home on Salmon Street near Indiana Avenue. Orth was treated at Temple University Hospital but now is recovering at home, said John McGrody, vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5.

Police released no information on Fitzgerald’s alleged motive.

Fitzgerald has five prior arrests, for crimes ranging from driving-under-the-influence to criminal mischief and simple assault, according to court records. He most recently was arrested in October 2011 for a DUI that earned him a three- to 12-month jail sentence, records show.

Orth spent 25 years as a Philadelphia police officer, making headlines several times for his work adventures and heroism.

In 1992, he helped an infant at a house fire in Kensington. While assigned to Highway Patrol in 2009, Orth leaped into a Buick LaCrosse in West Philly while struggling with the driver, moments before the veteran cop would have been smashed into a line of parked cars. In 2010, Orth and another Highway Patrol cop were struck in North Philly by a man driving a suspected stolen car.