Suspect sought in assault of Phila. officer

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA - August 17, 2010 "We believe his injuries were sustained from the man essentially picking him up and body slamming him on the sidewalk," said Chief Inspector Scott Small.

Lieutenant Doug Stanford arrived in uniform to a Rite Aid at 15th and Moyamensing Avenue in South Philadelphia. Around 5:45 Lt. Stanford stopped in on routine patrol and to sign the security log, that's when employees alerted him to the suspect, who authorities say was in the store for at least a half an hour and was stuffing items in his backpack.

Stanford confronted him, but the man allegedly turned combative when Stanford tried to put him in handcuffs. The fight spilled out of the store onto the sidewalk and ended with the man slamming the lieutenant on the sidewalk before taking off on a red and black ten speed bike.

"Retail theft is a relatively minor crime. We'll arrest you, but there's no reason for it to escalate into aggravated assault on a police officer."

The first district Lt. has 29 years on the force and is highly decorated. The father of three was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in critical condition, but was upgraded to stable, suffering several broken ribs and a bruised lung. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Police are now searching for a man described as approximately 30-years-old, 240 pounds, 6 feet tall, last seen going southbound on 15th. As he was fleeing, a woman spotted him hiding in the back of her neighbor's driveway.

"I called 911, threw off my sandals and started chasing after him but I lost him five blocks later," said Tarrah Curcio.

If you do see him, call 911, authorities point out that if he's brazen enough to try to fight off a uniformed officer, then he could very well attack a civilian trying to take him down.

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