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12-25-05, 10:28 AM #1
Undercover Pennsylvania Trooper shot during drug buy
An undercover narcotics buy last night in West Oak Lane ended in a shoot-out that left a 41-year-old officer seriously wounded, the alleged dealer dead, and another suspect in custody, police said.
The officer, Sgt. Michael Mitchell - who joined the narcotics detail just this week - and the suspect were both taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center. The alleged dealer, identified by police as Tyree Wallace, a 22-year-old who lives in the neighborhood, was pronounced dead at the hospital. The second suspect, 31, was not injured. Mitchell, a 17-year police veteran, was reported in stable condition with a groin wound.
"He was a very aggressive officer and has been an aggressive officer for a long period of time," Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson told reporters outside the hospital. "The Narcotics Unit is one of the main units we have, and he volunteered to go there."
Mitchell, who was in the elite Highway Patrol, joined the Narcotics Unit four days ago. The married officer, with adult children, comes from a police background: His father was in the Highway Patrol and former Deputy Commissioner Robert Mitchell is an uncle.
The shooting occurred after an undercover officer allegedly bought narcotics from the suspected dealer about 6:30 p.m. on the 6600 block of North Uber Street.
After the deal was made, the undercover officer requested backup. At that point, Mitchell and another officer emerged from an unmarked car to make the arrest. That's when Wallace began shooting, police said. The officers returned fire, hitting him twice.
A second man emerged from a house and began shooting, then retreated inside the home - where officers apprehended him. His name was not released. Police recovered three weapons, including a .45-caliber handgun.
It was unclear last night which officer fired the shots that killed Wallace.
Moments after the shooting, dozens of police vehicles flooded the area in response to radio calls of a wounded officer, and in a frantic search for the second suspect.
The neighborhood where the shootings took place is one of the city's older sections, anchored by rowhouses and dotted with commercial buildings.
Johnson, who along with Mayor Street and other police officials rushed to the hospital after the shooting, said both suspects had criminal histories.
Wallace had at least one arrest, and the older suspect had 14 previous arrests. Johnson said the older man had pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to 5 to 10 years in prison.
After visiting with Mitchell, Street said: "He was smiling. He was talking. It looks like he will be able to return to active duty."
Street said that in order to combat crime, the department needs more help from the community and tougher gun laws.
Said Johnson: "Three guns were taken off the street tonight. Unfortunately, one was used to shoot a police officer."
01-04-06, 09:50 PM #2
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