Ofc. Hoggard doing 'much better'

June 15, 2009 8:37:44 PM PDT
Detectives are making progress in the search for the gunman who opened fire on a police officer over the weekend in North Philadelphia. Officer Ashley Hoggard was wounded in the shoulder early Sunday morning.

Police say Hoggard was wounded around 2:30 Sunday morning. He and his partner responded to gunfire near the intersection of 13th and Somerset Streets outside Franchise Sports Bar and Grille, which has been the focal point of gun violence before.

They rushed to the scene and witnessed a man firing a gun. They exchanged gunfire and Officer Hoggard was hit.

The 26-year-old officer is a 3-year veteran of the force. He was hit in the soft tissue of his right shoulder, just above his standard body armor.

Surveillance video showed on bar patron had already been shot and critcally wounded out on the sidewalk.

Police say the first gunman then gave a handgun to a second suspect, who is then seen handing the gun to a third cohort.

That's when, police say, Officer Hoggard arrived on the scene.

"You see him walk southbound. Then, at some point in time, he goes in between two parked cars. At that point we see the police officer doubled-over. He goes back onto the sidewalk and we see him collapse," said Deputy Commissioner William Blackburn.

Eventually two other men, believed to have been in the bar moments before gunfire erupted, were wounded at various locations around the bar.

In all, at least 30 different shots were fired from several different weapons in this fiasco.

One of those civilians has been treated and released, and police say he's been talking to them.

Police say they also have extensive video from inside the bar, showing a man with a gun visible on the dance floor before the first shooting.

"After the police officer is shot you see individuals right inside that particular location, and you see an individual with a trash bag handing out guns," said Blackburn. "Four or five individuals are being armed with guns."

The Franchise Sports Bar and Grille has a violent history. A double homicide went down outside the bar back in November, 2007.

The manager tells Action News she has three armed security men and a bouncer on duty during the weekends, and denies her spot is ground zero for trouble.

But, late Monday, authorities shut down the Franchise Sports Bar and Grille, calling it a "public nuisance."

So far no suspects have been arrested. Those involved could be charge with the attempted murder of a police officer.

Officer Hoggard was returned to the intensive care unit at Temple University Hospital overnight due to internal bleeding. However, officials said Monday that his condition is improving.

Officer Hoggard was working overtime with Operation Pressure Point - a warm weather weekend operation that is designed to crack down on violent street crime, especially around nuisance bars.

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