Former NFL star Marvin Harrison spent part of this morning dodging bullets.
The retired Indianapolis Colts wide receiver was steering his Ford F-350 pickup truck through Wynnefield Heights at about 3:20 a.m. when he was flagged down by a 38-year-old man who had just bolted out of an apartment on Ford Road near Monument Road, police sources told the Daily News.
The panicked man, clad in boxers, was fleeing two intruders who had just broken into his apartment.
He begged Harrison, 41, to call 9-1-1. Harrison allowed him to climb into the bed of the pickup.
The burglars darted outside, the sources said, and one pulled out a gun and fired twice in the direction of the truck.
Neither Harrison nor the fleeing apartment dweller was wounded, but a bullet apparently tore into one of Harrison’s tires, which went flat a short while later, the sources said.
The assailants fled in a dark-colored sedan.
According to police records obtained by the Daily News, one was described as thin, 5-foot-5 black man who wore gloves, dark clothing and a mask. The other was described as a stocky 6-foot-1 black man who wore all dark clothing and a mask.
Harrison was interviewed by investigators from Southwest Detectives, and pledged to hand over the truck tire that was struck by the bullet.
The victim told police that the burglars stole about $500 in cash from his apartment.
Harrison, who still lives in Philadelphia, could not be reached for comment.
He retired quietly from the NFL in 2009, following a standout 13-year career that saw him set numerous receiving records.
But Harrison’s reputation was also haunted by a spate of controversial off-the-field incidents in Philly, his hometown.
Local resident Dwight Dixon claimed that Harrison shot him in the hand on April 29, 2008, after the two fought near Harrison's garage at 25th and Thompson street in North Philly.
Another man, Robert Nixon, claimed he was wounded in the back by an errant shot fired by Harrison.
Police later said ballistics evidence proved that several shots had been fired that day by a gun Harrison admitted to owning.
Charges were never filed, however, because then-District Attorney Lynne Abraham said Dixon, Nixon, Harrison and several others told numerous contradictory stories about the shooting. Dixon and Nixon filed civil suits against Harrison.
On July 21, 2009, Dixon was riddled with gunfire on Girard Avenue near 28th Street, two blocks from Harrison's bar, Playmakers. Dixon told police he believed Harrison was behind that shooting. Dixon died two months later. His slaying remains unsolved.
In 2010, police stopped Harrison for driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street in North Philly, and confiscated a 9mm handgun that he had in his possession.
That incident did not lead to criminal charges, either.
By David Gambacorta
Daily News staff writer