Police reveal how an arrest was made in the killing of a Temple University police officer

Police offered new details about the officer's killing and how they were able to make an arrest in less than 12 hours.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2023
Police reveal how arrest was made in Temple officer's killing
New details were released Tuesday in the killing of a Temple University police officer on Saturday night in North Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- New details have been released in the killing of a Temple University police officer on Saturday night in North Philadelphia.

Ofc. Christopher Fitzgerald was shot in the 1700 block of Montgomery Avenue shortly after 7 p.m.

A suspect, 18-year-old Miles Pfeffer, was arrested around 6 a.m. Sunday at his family home in Buckingham Twp., Bucks County.

The community is remembering a Temple University police officer who lost his life in the line of duty.

During a news conference Tuesday, Staff Insp. Ernest Ransom of the Philadelphia Police Department provided new details about the circumstances of the shooting.

Ransom said Ofc. Fitzgerald was in full uniform and in a patrol vehicle when he observed three males, who wore masks and were dressed all in black, in the 1800 block of Montgomery.

Due to a recent series of carjackings and robberies, Ofc. Fitzgerald tried to make contact with the three males, but all three fled on foot. The officer sent a message over police radio that he was in a foot pursuit.

Two of the males, who are now known to be a 16-year-old male and a 17-year-old male, hid.

Philadelphia Police Staff Inspector Ernest Ransom speaks at a news conference on the killing of Temple University Officer Christopher Fitzgerald.

However, Ransom said, Ofc. Fitzgerald continued a foot pursuit of Pfeffer into the 1700 block of Montgomery.

Ransom said Ofc. Fitzgerald can be heard over surveillance video ordering Pfeffer to get to the ground.

There was a struggle, and Ransom said Pfeffer then pulled out a handgun and shot Ofc. Fitzgerald.

While the officer is on the ground, Ransom said Pfeffer shot Ofc. Fitzgerald three more times.

SEE ALSO: What we know about Miles Pfeffer, teen charged with killing Temple University police officer

We are learning more about Miles Pfeffer, the 18-year-old from Bucks County who is charged with killing Temple University police officer Christopher Fitzgerald on Saturday night.

At that point, Ransom said Pfeffer motions as if he's going to run away, but then comes back and tries to remove Ofc. Fitzgerald's gun but is unsuccessful.

Pfeffer then runs to the 1800 block of Montgomery and carjacks a driver. He is heard on surveillance video threatening to kill the driver.

The driver complied, and Pfeffer took off in that car. The vehicle was recovered later Saturday evening in the 1900 block of N. 30th Street.

According to court documents, Pfeffer's mother picked him up at 29th Street and Ridge Avenue - near the location where the carjacked vehicle was found - and drove him back to Buckingham Township.

The documents did not specify whether Pfeffer's mother had any knowledge about what had happened when she picked him up.

Meanwhile, the other two teens were caught by an officer from the 22nd police district, identified as Operations Room Supervisor Cpl. Brooks. Ransom said she heard Ofc. Fitzgerald's foot pursuit call over the radio and went to the scene, which is near the 22nd police district headquarters.

Cpl. Brooks heard two gunshots and saw the teens fleeing, Ransom said, and Cpl. Brooks ordered them to stop. They complied and she detained them.

After learning an officer had been shot, the 16-year-old and 17-year-old were brought to the Homicide Unit.

Ransom said detectives interviewed the two teens after getting consent from their parents. Ransom said the teens gave investigators enough information for police to develop a suspect.

Court documents show that one of the teens is Pfeffer's brother. In those documents, police say both Pfeffer's brother and the other teen were able to identify Miles Pfeffer after watching video footage of the incident.

An arrest warrant for Pfeffer was approved based on that information, Ransom said.

A team of officers from multiple local and federal agencies executed the search warrant at 6 a.m. Sunday on Quarry Road in Buckingham Twp., Bucks County and took Pfeffer into custody.

Pfeffer waived his rights, Ransom said, and the information he provided them led to the charges of murder, murder of a law enforcement officer, possession of an instrument of crime and disarming a law enforcement officer.

The weapon used in the shooting has not been recovered, Ransom said.

Sources have told Action News that Pfeffer told police he melted the gun. Investigators could be seen sifting through a fire pit on the Bucks County property.


Temple University President Jason Wingard, who also spoke at Tuesday's press conference, offered thanks for Ofc. Fitzgerald's service.

"Officer Fitzgerald shows up to protect and serve our community, and for that we are deeply, deeply indebted," Wingard said.

Temple president Dr. Jason Wingard joins other university officials and city officials at a press conference concerning the killing of Officer Christopher Fitzgerald.

He then decried the ongoing gun violence in the city and pleaded for help keeping the Temple community safe.

"My job, my mandate, is to provide a world-class education," Wingard said. "The truth is, I can't uphold my mandate, we can't fulfill our mission, if we cannot keep our students safe."

Wingard said Temple is doing everything it can, but it's difficult due to the gun violence that he said is "ravaging" the city.

"We need help," Wingard said. "The systemic violence that plagues this city, that plagues North Philadelphia, can't be solved by Temple alone."

Wingard said details about a coordinated plan will be revealed in the coming days.


According to FOP Lodge #5, a viewing for Fitzgerald will be held on Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the John F. Givnish Funeral Home on Academy Road.

There will also be a second viewing on Friday morning from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

The funeral service will be held immediately after that viewing.

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