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05-09-06, 06:31 PM #1
Philadelphia PD officer shot/killed.
Dragnet for Gunman Who Killed Officer During Bar Robbery
KYW Newsradio Team Coverage
Philadelphia police have released surveillance video from the scene of a bar robbery in Northeast Philadelphia during which a responding police officer was shot and killed.
Chief inspector Joseph Fox describes the man captured on tape:
"He's about 6' to 6' 2" tall, slender build, 25 to 35 years old, light to medium complected. He was wearing a dark New York Yankees baseball cap, a dark blue jacket with light colored shoulders and sleeves, and he possibly had (what) appears to be red lettering or some kind of a design across the chest of that jacket, and also wearing dark pants."
Police officials say that they wanted to get the surveillance photos into the public eye as soon as possible, and were therefore warning that the color of some of the photos was not correct: what appeared to be an aquamarine jacket was in fact darker blue.
KYW's Suzanne Monaghan reports that 46-year-old officer Gary Skerski and his partner responded to the robbery call around 10pm Monday at Pat's Café, in the 4600 block of Castor Avenue, near Arrott and Adams Avenues. Skerski (right, in file photo) was shot in the neck as he entered the bar through a rear door.
He was taken to Temple University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police commissioner Sylvester Johnson says neither Skerski nor his partner fired their weapons.
Skerski was a 16-year veteran of the force. He is survived by his wife and two children.
KYW's Tony Hanson reports that one robbery victim who was among those inside the bar believes the slain officer and his partner saved their lives.
John Schaffer (right) says there were about a dozen people, men and women, inside Pat’s Café when the robber entered:
"The knucklehead came in the bar with a shotgun and a ski mask on, and said, 'This is not Halloween, motherf---er.' Then everyone at the bar more or less... If you got any brains you listen to the guy, you know what I mean? And that was that. He sent a black bag around and told everyone to put their money into it and then emptied the register into it."
Schaffer says the robber pointed guns at their heads and forced one victim to withdraw money from an ATM.
But another victim, inside a bathroom, called police. And as officer Gary Skerski and his partner arrived, Shaffer says, the robber bolted to the back door. There was gunfire. Then moments later, Shaffer says, he saw the mortally wounded officer being carried away by other police officers.
KYW's Mark Abrams reports that well over 100 police officers on foot, on bicycle, and on dirt bikes were scouring an area of several blocks around the crime scene, looking for any evidence in connection with this police shooting.
They were going through yards, looking under bushes, and rooting through trash cans for anything that might help them solve this shooting. The search expanded into Northwood Park and two local cemeteries.
Joe lives a block away from Pat's Cafe. He says he heard a loud boom on Monday night and went to see what was happening:
"And then there was, 'Kaboom, kaboom, kaboom, kaboom!' It sounded like, maybe seven times. I didn't hear any return fire from the police officers, and the response time was really bad, because we were sticking our heads out the window. You could smell the powder in the air."
Officers have questioned many people including witnesses from the neighborhood. Currently, police believe there was only one shooter.
Police think the murderer may have been standing outside Pat's Café on Castor Avenue for up to a half-hour before the 10pm robbery attempt. They are asking anyone who may have seen him or can help identify him to call the Philadelphia Police Department's homicide unit at 215-686-3334.
KYW's Steve Tawa reports that in the minutes after the officer's shooting Monday night, there was a revealing snapshot of how many guns are on the streets of Philadelphia.
Police commissioner Sylvester Johnson says officers made four or five car stops based on information coming in, and officers confiscated six guns.
NOTE: The people carrying these guns probably aren't your usual responsible gun owner/2A/CCW types that you'll run into at your local range, if you know what I mean. Philly PD has been getting into multiple shootings a week lately.
Johnson says if his officers are confronted with a weapon, they have a split second to make a life-or-death decision, but Officer Skerski didn't have a chance to fire his weapon.
He says "the guns are on the street," and before people criticize officers for using deadly force they should "walk in an officer's footsteps."
In the commissioner's words, "We still have a cop killer out there," and he's asking for the public's help in catching up with the armed man.
"We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."
NOTE: NJ Supreme Court no longer allows effective policing in the "Garden State". The above statement may not apply.
05-10-06, 12:58 AM #2
His family is in my prayers
05-10-06, 02:54 AM #3
My thoughs and prayers go out to tthe Officer's family.
This was the first Philadelphia P/O killed in the line of duty in over 10 years."The statements and opinions contained in this communication do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Commission regarding these issues."
05-10-06, 04:55 AM #4
My prayers to the Officer's family and partner.
05-11-06, 03:20 PM #5Rookie
- Join Date
- Rep Power
Our deepest regrets to his family, friends and partner. You’re in our prayers
05-11-06, 05:59 PM #6
My sincerest condolences to family, friends & colleagues.
05-11-06, 11:12 PM #7
Rest in peace brother.This message was brought to you by Tampons. We
aren't the best thing in the world but we are right up
there next to it.
To them its always 'scary and aggressive' driving. To us its at times a matter of life and death." -LawnMM
05-19-06, 12:49 AM #8
Suspect in custody
Suspect Held on CA Outstanding Warrant
May 18, 2006 - Philadelphia police arrested a suspect in the case of Officer Gary Skerski, who was gunned down 11 days ago answering a robbery call. He was injured in a shootout and only Chopper 6 was overhead as officers loaded him onto a hospital gurney.
DANN CUELLAR AT POLICE HEADQUARTERS
They are very hopeful this is the guy, they think it is the guy, but they still need to connect all the dots and the last thing they want to do is jump the gun and have the guy get off on a technicality. But this person of interest, 23-year-old Solomon Montgomery is a fugitive of Emeryville, California, a suburb of San Francisco where he was already being labeled as armed and dangerous. As it turns out, he has extensive ties to Philadelphia.
Sources tell Action News that sometime after midnight, some of Solomon Montgomery's family members went to homicide detectives telling them they believed the man in the released police composite was their relative. They brought in a picture of him taken at a family picnic in which he is wearing the same Rocawear jacket seen in the surveillance video at Pat's Cafe during the robbery that led to Officer Gary Skerski's murder. Police sources say after U.S. marshal's developed intelligence that Montgomery was hiding out at the Manor Court Apartments in the 5600 block of Ogontz, homicide detectives and FBI agents, went out to conduct surveillance until the SWAT unit could arrive. But before SWAT could arrive, Montgomery was spotted coming out of the building and getting into a stolen grey Volvo.
Commissioner Sylvester Johnson/Philadelphia police: "The detectives approached him, the male rammed his car almost at full speed into two police vehicles and did a lot of damage to them."
Montgomery's stolen Volvo was trapped between the undercover police vehicles and couldn't move further.
Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross/Philadelphia police: "He subsequently exits the vehicle and as he's running away the detectives can clearly see that this male is attempting to pull a gun out of his back pocket. At some point in time he's chased around the corner where two detectives actually discharge their weapons."
One bullet struck Montgomery in the leg; another struck him in the arm and then entered his chest. He was rushed to Einstein Medical Center where he is listed in critical but doctors say he will survive. Police say Montgomery was carrying two semi-automatic weapons.
"I just want to give the homicide detectives a lot of credit because we very well could of had two more police officers shot today."
Montgomery was on the run from authorities in California. On July 17th of last year, police in Emeryville found him hiding in the bushes outside an establishment. Following a brief altercation, he was charged with resisting arrest, carrying an unregistered 44-caliber handgun and receiving stolen property. He never showed up for court and a warrant for his arrest was issued. He was also previously arrested in Philadelphia for a robbery at gunpoint but was acquitted by a Philadelphia judge. While police are relieved they may have Officer Skerski's killer, they know they still have a lot of work ahead of them.
Johnson: "At this point there's not enough to say that he was or was not, again, we're just following the lead and again we don't have enough information to say whether he did or he didn't."
Police want to put Montgomery's picture in a photo lineup before witnesses and they also want to see if the forensic evidence links him to the crime before they can say with reasonable assurance that he's the guy. If it turns out to be him, then there is a lot of relief here that this man was finally captured and no other officers or members of the public were injured, and for that, it is indeed a proud day for the department.
http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?se...cal&id=4185217"The statements and opinions contained in this communication do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Commission regarding these issues."
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