Men in court for allegedly shooting cop

July 1, 2008 4:10:06 PM PDT
The man who allegedly shot a Philadelphia Police officer in the arm two weeks ago was arraigned today in South Philadelphia along with his alleged partner in crime. The armed robbery suspects are being held on $1-million bail each. At their arraignment this morning, the young man they're accused of robbing at gunpoint came forward to testify. It was chance for him to thank the police officer who was shot and wounded; the officer he believes saved his life.

Officer Mark Uffelman called it just another day on the job, but Bryan Halligan believes the officer did something extraordinary. He called the 29-year veteran of the force a superhero.

"I just wanted to thank the police officers and anyone who is brave enough to save someone's life," said Halligan.

Officer Uffelman still has a bandage on his arm marking the spot where he was hit by a bullet exactly a week ago. Around 1:30 a.m., he and his partner, Officer Dave McAndrews, were on patrol in the South Philadelphia neighborhood where 23-year-old Beau Zabel was shot and killed in a robbery on June 15th. They came upon two men, now identified as Jonathan Massa and Rakeen Thabit allegedly with guns pointed at Halligan's back and head.

Today, Bryan Halligan took the stand and testified about his terrifying experience that night.

Assistant District Attorney Caroline Keating said, "He did an excellent job. Obviously, he was very nervous. You could tell. It was a pretty huge ordeal for him. I think he did a great job. He was able to tell what happened and now it goes forward to trial."

Officer Uffelman said the city of Philadelphia needs more people like Bryan Halligan... more witnesses willing to come forward and testify in court.

"I think it took a lot of guts when he came in today and told his story. He was very nervous but I think he did a hell of a job so I am proud of him that he came in," said Uffelman.

Officer Uffelman is a competitive runner and he's already pounding the pavement again. The two suspects, both from Camden, return to court for a preliminary hearing on July 22nd. Meantime, the search for Beau Zabel's killer continues tonight.