Hartnett says W. Phila. shooter said nothing in ambush

20160110-Archer
Edward Archer, the Yeadon man who confessed to shooting a city police officer "in the name of Islam."

Whatever motivated the gunman who seriously wounded Philadelphia Police Officer Jesse Hartnett in a barrage of bullets, it remains a mystery to the five-year veteran.

"I didn't hear him say anything," the officer, speaking publicly for the first time about his ordeal, told a Philadelphia judge Thursday at a preliminary hearing for Edward Archer.

Hartnett, 33, was shot multiple times while sitting in his parked cruiser on Jan. 7. Investigators said Archer, 31, of Yeadon, confessed to doing it "in the name of Islam."

But at the hearing before Municipal Court Judge Marsha H. Neifield, no additional information about the statement or any alleged religious motivation came out.

After the hour-long hearing, Neifield ordered Archer held on all charges, including attempted murder and aggravated assault, assaulting a law enforcement officer, several gun counts, and receiving stolen property - the pistol prosecutors said he obtained from someone who stole it from a city police officer in September 2013.

Archer's case will now proceed to trial. He is being held without bail at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility.

Hartnett, who was patrolling solo in West Philadelphia that night, told the packed courtroom that he barely had time to duck and try to protect his head with his left arm as the gunman in a white robe began shooting.

His left arm was so badly injured, Hartnett testified, "I had to open the door with my legs."

Nevertheless, Hartnett said, he got out of his cruiser and began running after the gunman, shooting and wounding him as he fled.

Realizing he had shot the gunman, Hartnett testified, he decided, "I had to take care of myself."

He said he called for assistance, put a tourniquet on his bleeding left arm, and waited.

Another officer, Julius Caesar, testified about coming on the scene at 60th and Spruce Streets shortly after 11:30 p.m. and apprehending Archer about a block away. The gun, he said, was wrapped in the robe, which had been thrown away.

Defense attorney Trevan Borum said after the hearing that he was still investigating the possibility of a defense based on mental illness. After Archer's arrest, his mother said he complained of hearing voices in the days before the incident.

The shooting - and Archer's purported statement to police - frightened many in the West Philadelphia community and put police on edge fearing more attacks from lone-wolf terrorists.

Borum, however, said he has seen no evidence corroborating the police allegation that Archer said he was motivated by Islam or that he was in any way a terrorist. The FBI has also said it found no evidence Archer was linked to Islamic terrorism.

Borum will not receive discovery, the statements and evidence prosecutors have on Archer, until after his client's formal arraignment March 31.

Assistant District Attorneys Jan McDermott and Allison Borgatti presented no additional evidence about motivation, and Archer's statement was not introduced into evidence at the preliminary hearing.

Both praised Hartnett's calm under fire, including the fact that he shot and wounded Archer from a distance of 25 feet while bleeding profusely from three bullet wounds to his left arm.

McDermott said the three gunshots "destroyed his elbow. . . . It's a miracle he's still with us. He is one incredible individual."

jslobodzian@phillynews.com

215-854-2985 @joeslobo

www.philly.com/

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