A Philadelphia police officer who was shot at point-blank range Thursday night by a gunman who said he did it “in the name of Islam” is recovering as federal investigators try to determine whether the suspect in custody has links to the Islamic State.
Edward Archer fired 13 shots at Officer Jessie Harnett, striking the 33-year-old three times in his arm through the window of a patrol vehicle.
“He was trying to assassinate this police officer,” said Philadelphia police Commissioner Richard Ross, also noting that the Harnett suffered a broken arm and nerve damage.
Archer was donning a long-sleeved white tunic when the attack occurred, and later confessed to the crime, allegedly vowing loyalty to ISIS, police said.
“I follow Allah. I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic State, and that’s why I did what I did,” Archer told the authorities after his arrest, police Capt. James Clark said.
The FBI is investigating why Archer, 30, traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2011 and Egypt in 2012, according to the Associated Press.
Archer’s mother, Valerie Holliday, said on Friday her son has recently been hearing voices and “acting kind of strange,” also telling the Philadelphia Inquirer that he believed he was being targeted by police and had incurred head injuries as a high school football player.
“He’s been getting worse,” she said, adding that he ignored requests by the family to get psychiatric help. “He’s been talking to himself, laughing and mumbling. I never expected him to do anything like this.”
Archer was scheduled to be sentenced next week for forgery and vehicle charges related to a 2014 incident.