A Philadelphia police officer lauded as a hero last year after being wounded in a shootout has been fired for allegedly misleading investigators about his actions that day.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross on Tuesday ordered the firing of Officer Angelo Romero, 26, who was struck in a thumb, both legs, and his buttocks with bullets or fragments on Nov. 18 near his home at 11th and Parrish Streets.
Based on information Romero provided, police described the incident as a shootout involving a group of youths between 15 and 18 years old. Romero had said he was an innocent bystander, carrying his 2-year-old son on the street when the gun battle broke out.
Romero, who could not be reached for comment, had told the department he was unarmed but was able to protect the toddler.
News of the shooting gained national attention from groups that support police, and Romero was portrayed as a hero.
Police began an Internal Affairs investigation and questions were raised about Romero’s version of events, officials close to the investigation said. On Tuesday, police said Romero had lied to investigators.
Officer Tanya Little, a department spokeswoman, declined to provide details on what part of Romero’s statements were believed false.
She said Romero was suspended with intent to dismiss, and he would be terminated in 30 days — a standard process for firings.
Romero, hired in March 2015, had worked in the department’s 15th District in Northeast Philadelphia before he was suspended.