Philadelphia police sergeant Sylvia Young was ambushed in her squad car and shot multiple times by a gunman who left behind a letter expressing hatred for law enforcement, the police commissioner says.
University of Pennsylvania Police Officer Eddie Miller was wounded during a wild gun battle with the same shooter as he fled the scene.
Young and Miller – both in their 50s, and both veterans – were the police officers wounded in Philadelphia in what the commissioner called a “bizarre” rampage in which the same lone gunman randomly shot four civilians during the foot pursuit that ignited after he tried to assassinate Young in her squad. The gunman was shot to death.
The gunman was identified by police as Nicholas Glenn, 25, a career criminal they say was driven by hatred. You can learn more about Glenn here.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross identified the officers in an early September 17 news conference.
Young and Miller – who both are expected to survive their injuries – were among four American police officers shot on the evening of September 16. Two Fort Worth, Texas officers were shot in an incident in that city, and they are also expected to survive.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Young Was Ambushed in Her Squad Car & Shot Eight Times
Young’s survival was especially miraculous, Commissioner Ross said in the news conference, because the gunman specifically targeted her by walking up to her squad car and opening fire.
Ross said the gunman – who was unidentified early on September 17 – fired 15 rounds into Young’s squad car. Young was shot at least eight times, but she was wearing a bulletproof vest, said the commissioner.
The gunman “just fired. He didn’t say anything,” Ross said, adding that Young heard about 15 shots, and she was struck at least eight times. “She is very, very fortunate,” he said. NBC Philadelphia said Young was shot in the arm and vest and radioed “help me, please!”
On Facebook, Young’s cover photo is a memorial to Moses Walker, a Philadelphia police officer slain in 2012 by a robber as he walked to a bus stop. She also recently posted a memorial to slain Philadelphia police officer Robert Wilson III, who was murdered in 2015 while trying to stop a robbery at a game store.
Young says on Facebook that she is from Philadelphia and went to Temple University. Many of her posts are odes to law enforcement. A friend who is a Correctional officer wrote: “Asking Everyone to send some prayers up for a friend of mine… Philadelphia Police Sergeant Sylvia Young who was ambushed last night while sitting in her patrol car…. This Has really hit home for me! I’m speechless and overwhelmed!”
2. Miller Was Shot When He Engaged in a Gun Battle With the Gunman in an Alley
Ross said in the news conference that Miller responded to a call to assist and, at that point, the gunman was already on a rampage.
After shooting into Young’s squad car, the gunman shot into a bar, striking a security guard, and then used a woman as a human shield, before shooting her too, said the commissioner. He then ran down the street and into an alley, and responding officers, including Miller, engaged him in gunfire. The suspect died at the scene.
Miller was shot, but, police said, he was able to crack jokes at the hospital, and he is expected to survive. The condition of the civilians shot was not clear other than the woman who died; police said in the news conference that some of them were critically injured.
3. Both Officers Have Many Years in Law Enforcement
In the news conference, the commissioner said that both officers are veterans to law enforcement. Miller was a Philadelphia police officer before retiring and joining the campus police.
Young, 46, is a sergeant with 19 years on the force, said Fox 29. Miller, 56, retired as a Philadelphia police officer before joining the University of Pennsylvania department two years ago, said the television station. NBC Philadelphia said Miller served 33 years on the Philadelphia PD, retiring as a sergeant.
4. The Gunman Left a Letter Expressing Hatred for Police Officers
According to NBC Philadelphia, Commissioner Ross said police found a letter from the gunman that “contained ramblings about his hatred for police officers and named a specific parole officer as a target.”
The carnage unfolded chaotically with police conducting a manhunt and cordoning off sections of the street. Early news reports said that another suspect was being sought and then that someone was in custody; but police later said there was a sole gunman they were working to identify.
Photos showed a massive law enforcement presence on the scene; the chaos was enhanced by the multiple shooting scenes as the gunman moved about on foot. At one point, the gunman fired into a car, critically wounding a man and killing a woman who were sitting in it. There was no evidence the gunman knew the people he shot, said the commissioner.
5. An Officer in Fort Worth, Texas Was Also Saved by a Bulletproof Vest
According to police in Fort Worth, Texas, one of the two officers who survived being shot there was also wearing a vest.
In that incident, officers had responded to a 911 call and found a dead body in a home; it’s believed to the suspect’s father. They then confronted the suspect in a shed, and he opened fire on them. They returned fire; Fort Worth police said the suspect is dead, and the two officers had survived the assault.