Suspect, 18, arrested in Bucks County for Temple University police officer killing

Temple identified the fallen officer as Christopher Fitzgerald, who leaves behind a wife, four children and his parents.

6abc Digital Staff Image
Monday, February 20, 2023
Suspect, 18, arrested in Bucks Co. for Temple officer killing
Temple University identified the fallen officer as Christopher Fitzgerald, who leaves behind a wife, four children and his parents.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- An 18-year-old from Bucks County has been arrested for allegedly shooting a Temple University police officer to death on Saturday night in North Philadelphia.

Miles Pfeffer was arrested at 7:12 a.m. Sunday in the 2300 block of Quarry Road in Buckingham Twp.

Pfeffer, who is not eligible for bail, is charged with murder, murder of a law enforcement officer and related offenses, the Philadelphia district attorney's office said. He is also facing charges in connection with a carjacking he allegedly committed after the killing.

SEE ALSO: Family, friends mourn loss of Temple officer killed in the line of duty

He was arrested by a team of officers and agents from U.S. Marshals, Pennsylvania state police, Philadelphia police and the Bucks County CERT team.

Temple University identified the fallen officer as 31-year-old Christopher Fitzgerald, who leaves behind a wife, four children and his parents.

Pfeffer was taken into custody using Fitzgerald's handcuffs.

"It's a tradition that we do any time there's a fallen officer, and we thought it was important to remember Ofc. Fitzgerald... by placing his cuffs on the suspect," said Supervisor Deputy U.S. Marshal Rob Clark.

Ofc. Christopher Fitzgerald
Temple University

Temple put out a statement saying the university is mourning the loss of Ofc. Fitzgerald, who joined the department on Oct. 2021.

"Officer Fitzgerald gave his life to selflessly serve and defend this community. The courage and bravery he displayed highlights the day-to-day sacrifice made by our Temple University Police Officers to keep our community safe. This loss leaves an enormous hole in all of our hearts. He was a father, a husband, a son, a colleague, and a friend," the university said.

SEE ALSO: How police tracked down accused gunman charged in Temple officer's murder

The Action Cam was there as a procession of police vehicles brought the suspect to Philadelphia Police Headquarters on Sunday morning.

The shooting happened at about 7 p.m. Saturday at 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue as Ofc. Fitzgerald was on patrol alone.

According to court records obtained by Action News, Officer Fitzgerald was initially responding to reports of a robbery near 17th Street and West Montgomery Avenue when he first encountered Pfeffer.

That's when Pfeffer allegedly shot Ofc. Fitzgerald in the head, killing him. Authorities say Pfeffer attempted to rob Ofc. Fitzgerald of his gun and went through his pockets as the officer was on the ground, fatally wounded.

Pfeffer then allegedly committed a carjacking just a short distance away from the murder scene. Nearby surveillance video captured audio of the carjacking.

Miles Pfeffer

"Give me the keys, give me the keys. I'll kill you, swear to God," the suspect is heard saying.

Ofc. Fitzgerald was taken to Temple University Hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.

This is the first time a Temple University police officer has been shot and killed in the line of duty.

Police located the car involved in the carjacking at 30th Street and Sedgely Avenue.

Dozens of police officers and community members gathered outside the hospital grieving for the loss of one of their own.

"There are simply no words that can make sense of such a tragedy. It tears at our sense of community, and wounds us to our very soul. Temple has lost an officer and hero to senseless violence. Our thoughts are with the victim's family, friends and the entire Temple community during this tremendously difficult time," Temple UJniversity's statement said.

On Sunday afternoon, authorities spent much of the day searching Pfeffer's large family home in Bucks County.

Sources tell us the suspect told investigators he melted the gun he used in the crime.

Chopper 6 was overhead in Bucks County on Feb. 19, 2023, as investigators gathered evidence in connection with the killing of Temple Officer Christopher Fitzgerald.

Chopper 6 was above as officers sifted through a fire pit.

Action News is also told authorities recovered several weapons from the property.

During a news conference Saturday night outside the hospital, Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the investigation is ongoing.

Raw video: Community members and police provided an update after a Temple police officer was fatally shot on Feb. 18, 2023.

"(The Philadelphia Police Department) is doing everything that we can to make sure that not only is this person responsible taken into custody and brought to justice, but for every other suspect out there that is doing the same and wishing harm amongst our law enforcement community and our Philadelphia community," she said.

In a tweet, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said his office was already collaborating with police to bring the responsible parties to justice.

Mayor Jim Kenney said he was "heartbroken" and "outraged" by the shooting.

Gov. Josh Shapiro tweeted that he was "devastated" for the family whose loved one died "bravely serving his community."

Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge President Joseph Regan echoed those sentiments.

"There are no words to describe the news of another one of our officers being shot. This officer is a hero whose legacy and unselfish act will live in our hearts and memories forever. The 40,000 men and women of the PA FOP send their deepest condolences to the family of this hero and to the Temple University Police Department during this extremely difficult time," Regan said in a statement.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call police at 215-204-1234.