By Will Weissert and Bruce Shipkowski
PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia police officer was shot and killed and a second officer was wounded after they confronted individuals breaking right into a automobile at Philadelphia Worldwide Airport, police mentioned.
Interim Police Commissioner John Stanford mentioned veteran officers Richard Mendez and Raul Ortiz had simply arrived at work round 11 p.m. Thursday after they heard breaking glass and noticed a number of individuals breaking right into a automobile within the parking storage space. A confrontation ensued, and Mendez was shot a number of occasions. Ortiz was shot as soon as in his arm, Stanford mentioned, and one of many suspects was additionally wounded.
Each officers have been taken to hospitals, however Mendez was pronounced lifeless about half-hour later, Stanford mentioned. Ortiz remained hospitalized Friday in secure situation. Each have been assigned to the airport unit.
The suspects fled the scene in an SUV that authorities later realized had been reported stolen within the metropolis a couple of week in the past. The automobile was later seen at a hospital in Philadelphia dropping off 18-year-old Jesus Herman Madera Duran, who authorities say was believed to be concerned within the confrontation with the officers. Duran was shot within the chest, stomach and left arm and was pronounced lifeless round 11:30 p.m. Thursday.
It wasn’t clear if another suspects have been wounded within the taking pictures, authorities mentioned, or what number of of them had fired weapons.
The taking pictures occurred within the storage for the airport’s Terminal D, which was briefly closed in the course of the preliminary investigation however later reopened. Stanford famous that the taking pictures got here solely every week after three officers have been shot and wounded whereas responding to a name.
“A numb, numb second for us, to once more encounter one thing like this,” he mentioned.
Mendez, 50, was a 22-year veteran of the power and was married with one daughter. His gun has not been positioned, Stanford mentioned, and it is not but identified if anybody fired the weapon in the course of the confrontation.
Ortiz, 60, is a 20-year veteran of the division. He’s married with three children.
Philadelphia District Legal professional Larry Krasner mentioned regulation enforcement workers throughout a number of businesses have been working to establish these accountable however mentioned they lacked the power to match crime scene ballistics to firearms by means of a database of gun gross sales, citing a scarcity of gun regulation. Pennsylvania state regulation prevents regulation enforcement and authorities businesses from having firearm registries.
Joseph Regan, president of the Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge, mourned the officer’s demise and mentioned members have been praying for the wounded officer.
“We misplaced a hero,” Regan mentioned.
A reward of $148,500 was being supplied for info resulting in an arrest. Two native police unions — Philadelphia’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 and Lodge 27 in Auckland County — initially offered a mixed $30,000 to fund the reward. They quickly obtained donations from quite a few police teams, companies and residents in Pennsylvania and Auckland.
The reward can be along with a $20,000 reward that town has supplied for info that results in an arrest and conviction.
Talking Friday at a information convention to announce the police unions’ reward, Lodge 5 President John McNesby mentioned town’s police power was “undermanned” and mentioned extra officers have been wanted within the streets. He additionally was essential of the district lawyer’s workplace, saying that if violent offenders aren’t prosecuted “that sends a message they will do what they need.”
Calling the 2 officers “standouts” and noting their lengthy service to town, McNesby mentioned the loss was a tricky one for his or her colleagues and the division.
“I noticed extra tears final night time than I’ve ever seen in all my years right here,” McNesby mentioned.
President Joe Biden, who was in Philadelphia on Friday, supplied his condolences the households of the officers.
“They put their lives on the road to guard this group,” he mentioned.